There's been no official announcement, but the 2016 ACC-Big Ten Challenge field is set, according to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein. NC State will be making a trip to Illinois this winter; these schools have never played each other in the ACC-B1G Challenge. And the Wolfpack hasn't won on the road in the Challenge since 1999. (Way to be clutch in that one, Justin Gainey!)
Here is the complete list of Challenge matchups, per Rothstein:
Michigan State at Duke
North Carolina at Indiana
Syracuse at Wisconsin
Pitt at Maryland
NC State at Illinois
Ohio State at Louisville
Nebraska at Clemson
Iowa at Notre Dame
Virginia Tech at Michigan
Purdue at Virginia
Georgia Tech at Penn State
Rutgers at Miami
Wake Forest at Northwestern
Minnesota at Florida State
(Boston College is the ACC team left out of the Challenge this year, because obviously.)
Eyeballin' this thing in May, I think it sets up well for the ACC, which hasn't won this galdarned thing since 2008. Duke is mega-loaded, plus playing in Durham, where Tom Izzo's powers cannot function. Louisville might be a top-five team and Ohio State's been struggling. FSU and Miami have gimmes. UNC should handle Indiana, the Pack should beat Illinois. Virginia will beat Purdue. That's seven right there. The league would only need one more win to clinch.
On a related note, if the ACC wins the competition this year, it gets to take over the Big Ten Network, no takesies backsies. (Sorry, those are the rules.)
NC State should be the favorite to beat Illinois, which is coming off a rough 15-19 (5-13) season. The Illini program endured a tumultuous February and March that saw a trio of players arrested, two of them on domestic assault charges.
Guard Jaylon Tate's domestic assault charges were dropped, while forward Leron Black has been issued a four-game suspension after his guilty plea for misdemeanor aggravated assault. Guard Kendrick Nunn, who was an important part of the Illini's rotation last season, recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge. He could be suspended for a while, if he remains on the team.
So the Illinois program is a bit of a mess right now.
NC State is coming off a poor season of its own, though nothing quite like the combination of poor performance on the court and wretched stupidity off it that Illinois endured.