The ACC-B1G Challenge is entering its 15th year, and this proves to be an exciting one for Georgia Tech. We take on last year's opponent, Illinois, at the McCamish pavilion on December 3rd at 7:15 PM. The ACC has actually released a handy infographic with everything you need to know about the mini-tournament:
That 10 national titles stat is pretty impressive, and only goes to show that this made-for-TV spectacle is actually one of the better things to happen in college basketball in a while. Who do you think we draw in 2014? I'm hoping it's Maryland so we can give them a nice swift kick in the pants on the way out the door.
Let's do a quick examination of the Illini to see what we're up against this December:
- Notable Players Lost - G Brandon Paul (Graduation/Euro Leagues); G D.J. Richardson (Graduation)
- Notable Additions - Jon Ekey (Transfer, Illinois St); Ahmad Starks (Transfer, Oregon State); Austin Colbert (Frosh, 4* Recruit); Malcolm Hill (Frosh, 4*); Kendrick Nunn (Frosh, 4*).
- Last Year's result - the Illini beat Tech at their place, 75-62 (If you'll remember, the game was close until there was about 4 minutes left. At that point, Tech was just gassed and the Illini took over).
- The Illini have a wealth of new talent. They took in two transfers this year in addition to Starks and Ekey. Ekey can contribute Immediately has he came to the Illini as a grad student, while Starks has applied for a hardship waiver to play this year. Both were solid contributors to their former teams, with Ekey averaging 5.4 rebounds/game while Starks put up nearly 11 PPG in 2012.
- Illinois, for all their new faces, needed some help. They lost four players to transfer and their two best offensive contributors for 2012 to graduation in Paul and Richardson. Those two were 43% of Illinois offensive production, accounting for 30/69 PPG. It's likely that most of their starting rotation could be new faces this year.
Given the high turnover rate and the fact that they'll be playing on the road, I think the Illini will fall to Tech this year in a defensive tussle.
What do you think, Tech fans? How do you like the Jacket's chances in this early-season test?