It’s not as though the Big Ten is aching for respect or retribution in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It was able to cease the annual derision with last year’s victory in the series, and that was enough.
And yet there is no escaping that this is a year the Big Ten has wanted for so long. This time the Big Ten goes into the ACC/Big Ten Challenge – the major event of a busy hoops week – as the heavyweight conference.
The ACC produced the past two NCAA champions, and it still has the No. 1 team, but a conference is a product of all its members, not only the best.
The Big Ten has won 83 percent of its games this season. The ACC would prefer I not do the math necessary to tell you it is winning only 72 percent of the time.
Half of the ACC’s members already have lost twice. Only Duke and Florida State remain unbeaten. The league ranks just fifth in conference RPI – two spots behind the Mountain West.
The ACC basically stands where the Big Ten did for nearly a decade: in position perhaps to turn around the perception of its league by competing well or perhaps stealing a series win. So what is the likelihood of that happening?