Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We got Virginia Tech ... in hoops

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchups were announced today, and the Badgers will hit the road to face Virginia Tech. Should be a good game, the Hokies were a bubble team this season after going to the Big Dance last year, and we'll be breaking some youngsters into new roles.

Didn't think much of it until reading Rob Schultz's excellent article today on madison.com. Very deep reporting for what on the surface appears to be a run-of-the-mill scheduling story. It basically accuses the Big Ten of giving Wisconsin a raw deal in scheduling these games, with an especially long finger pointed at associate commissioner Mark Rudner. Rudner's attitude when responding to Schultz's questions, especially when placed next to other anecdotal evidence, takes what probably isn't a big deal and portrays it as a conspiracy to hold Bucky down.

I'm not buying it, but it is disappointing that we haven't had the opportunity to host Carolina or Duke at the Kohl Center, especially with our better teams. The year that the matchup really bit was last season, when Alando was a senior, when they shipped Florida State to Madison. Nice.

Still, no Big Ten team deserves to gripe too much about its draw in this event, given the conference's lack of success against its ACC brethren. I can't imagine why ESPN renewed this series several years ago, when it's never been close.

Now, if only we could get that Virginia Tech football matchup moved up ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really, really, REALLY hate this event. Yes, I do think the ACC is a better conference as whole than the Big Ten. However, this challenge is set up by TV. The first 5 years of this event, the Big Ten had 2 of its teams not participate. In the first 2 years, the Big Ten lost by 1 game. Who didn't play, the bottom-feeders? Nope, Indiana and Iowa (back when they were actually good) Now 1 ACC team doesn't participate. Who is it? NC State, tied for worst in the conference last year. Again, I'm not saying the Big Ten is better than the ACC. Just that this challenge seems a little like ESPN pushing ratings their "ACC Rules!" agenda.