Depending on how you look at it, the Wisconsin-Virginia game announced Monday as a part of the 14th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge will either be a dream or a nightmare.
For those who admire and respect what the Bennett family means to Wisconsin basketball, the coaching storyline makes the Nov. 28 tilt in Madison must-see television. To ESPN, the driver of the event, it probably gives an excuse to bury two slow-paced teams with one swoop.
Wisconsin ranked dead last in the country last season in adjusted tempo, averaging 58.5 possessions per contest. Virginia, coached by former UW assistant Tony Bennett, ranked 338th out of 345 teams (60.6). Yet the two schools combined to go 48-20, so the quality of basketball should not be in question.
The game will mark just the third meeting all-time between the Badgers and Cavaliers. Wisconsin defeated Virginia. 66-56, in a pre-conference tournament back in 1998 when Dick Bennett was still pacing the sideline for UW.
This fall's pairing was widely anticipated due projected conference finishes for both sides, not to mention the Bennett connection. Each program must replace all-conference seniors in UW's Jordan Taylor and UVa's Mike Scott. But both are expected to be very competitive in their respective leagues.
Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg ranked the matchup the 6th most watchable among the challenge games.
The only head scratcher in the full Big Ten/ACC Challenge slate released today was Florida State hosting Minnesota, which appears to be an advantage for the ACC.
Merrill, Wis. native Paul Jesperson also will return to his home state for the first time as an opposing sophomore shooting guard. Jesperson was pressed into service late late season due to some defections from the UVa squad.
Wisconsin has a chance to even its overall record in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, as well as help the Big Ten aim for its fourth straight victory after 10 straight losses to the ACC to begin the annual event.
Big Ten/ACC Challenge pairings
Tuesday, Nov. 27
Minnesota at Florida State
North Carolina at Indiana
North Carolina State at Michigan
Maryland at Northwestern
Iowa at Virginia Tech
Nebraska at Wake Forest
Wednesday, Nov. 28
Purdue at Clemson
Ohio State at Duke
Georgia Tech at Illinois
Michigan State at Miami
Boston College at Penn State
Virginia at Wisconsin