Big Ten/ACC Challenge Headlined By Michigan Wolverines Vs. North Carolina Tar Heels


Michigan has its opponent for the 2021 Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Monday, the Big Ten announced that the defending Big Ten champion Wolverines will travel to Chapel Hill for a showdown with North Carolina Wednesday, Dec. 1 as part of the event.

Tip times and network assignments will be announced at a later date. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 14 games of the event.

The Wolverines and the Tar Heels have squared off eight times, and the series is all knotted up at 4-4. In fact, the two programs have played in three of the last four seasons, all early-season non-conference contests. The Maize and Blue lost (86-71) at UNC in 2017-18, before avenging the setback with a 84-67 triumph in 2018-19 and winning in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in 2019-20 (73-64).

There have been four NCAA Tournament matchups between Michigan and UNC, including three straight from 1987-89. Michigan lost in the 1987 second round (109-97) and 1988 Sweet 16 (78-68) before a 1989 Sweet 16 triumph (92-87) helped spring the Maize and Blue to the 1989 national title. The fourth game was in the 1992 national title game, a 77-71 UNC win.

The Big Ten has won the challenge in two straight years, though the ACC has the all-time edge, 12-7-3. Michigan holds an 8-11 all-time record in the event.

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Michigan Wolverines basketball has squared off with North Carolina during three of the last four seasons. (USA TODAY Sports Images)

UNC finished last season with an 18-11 record and a loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 64. Former UNC head coach Roy Williams retired following the campaign, and the program has a new man, Hubert Davis, at the helm. A former Tar Heel player, Davis coached in the NBA for several years, before joining Williams’ staff at UNC in 2012 and serving as an assistant coach until his promotion came this offseason.

The Tar Heels check in at No. 25 nationally in T-Rank’s 2021-22 preseason projections, while the Wolverines slot fourth. UNC is set to bring back 65.2 percent of its minutes from last season, according to the site.

Michigan’s non-conference schedule has not been announced in full just yet, but UNC is among several opponents that are known. The Wolverines will host Seton Hill (Gavitt Tipoff Games) and Kentucky (Dec. 4), and travel to UCF. They will also take part in the MGM Resorts Main Event in Las Vegas (Nov. 19-21) along with fellow participants Wichita State, Arizona and UNLV.

Big Ten / ACC Challenge Matchups

Monday, November 29

Notre Dame at Illinois

Iowa at Virginia

Tuesday, November 30

Indiana at Syracuse

Minnesota at Pittsburgh

Northwestern at Wake Forest

Duke at Ohio State

Florida State at Purdue

Clemson at Rutgers

Wednesday, December 1

Virginia Tech at Maryland

Michigan at North Carolina

Louisville at Michigan State

Nebraska at NC State

Miami at Penn State

Wisconsin at Georgia Tech

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