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Northwestern to Visit NC State in ACC/B1G Challenge

As originally reported by Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News Observer and Charlotte Observer, the Big Ten and ACC announced that Northwestern will play at NC State in the 2013 ACC-Big Ten Challenge. NU last played NC State in 2009, when the Wildcats won in Raleigh. NU lost to Maryland in last year's Challenge, while NC State lost to Michigan.

As Giglio noted, there are lots of storylines surrounding this game, particularly Chris Collins heading back to North Carolina to face one of his former rivals while he was at Duke. But it also shows something about where the ACC and Big Ten think their respective teams will end up. These matchups are based on speculation about this season and they're meant to be relatively even.

Last year, NC State was considered a top 15 team in the preseason, but ended up being a relative disappointment and now loses most of its talent to graduation and the NBA. Northwestern, meanwhile, is coming off a 13-19 season, but the Wildcats have a lot more talent this year than they did last year. Overall, the ACC and Big Ten expect NC State to be worse than last year and NU to be better than last year.

As far as the rest of the schedule goes, this is shaping up to be NU's toughest non-conference schedule in a long time. The Wildcats will play at Stanford and Butler, and they'll also play in the Las Vegas Invitational where they'll play two of these three teams: UCLA, Missouri and Nevada. Now they'll go to NC State, and expect at least one high-profile opponent to go to Evanston, as NU tries to drum up fan interest in Chris Collins' first season. NU's full non-conference schedule should be announced soon.

The full ACC-Big Ten Challenge schedule is below. All games will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, and all will be available on WatchESPN:

Tuesday, December 3

Indiana at Syracuse
Michigan at Duke
Notre Dame at Iowa
Florida State at Minnesota
Penn State at Pittsburgh
Illinois at Georgia Tech

Wednesday, December 4

North Carolina at Michigan State
Maryland at Ohio State
Miami at Nebraska
Wisconsin at Virginia
Boston College at Purdue
Northwestern at NC State