MSU hosts Tar Heels for ACC/Big Ten Challenge
MAY 08, 2013 3:37p ET
Michigan State announced on Wednesday that it will host North Carolina on Dec. 4 for the fifth game between the basketball-rich programs in the Challenge. It is the most-played rivalry in the 15-year history of the early-season competition matching schools from two of the country’s top conferences.
“We are very excited to be hosting North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge,” MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “The atmosphere at the Breslin Center was great last year, and I know the fans love to watch the marquee non-conference games at home. To have the opportunity to host a potential Top 10 matchup in December is something special, and we look forward to continuing to bring these top programs into Breslin.”
The Spartans, strengthened by the decisions of Adreian Payne and Gary Harris to forgo entering the NBA Draft, are in the top three preseason rankings by ESPN.com, SI.com and USA Today. North Carolina is in the Top 12 in those three rankings.
Michigan State (27-9) lost starting center Derrick Nix to graduation, but returns six of its top seven scorers, including All-Big Ten second-team picks in point guard Keith Appling (13.4 points, 3.3 assists), shooting guard Harris (12.9 points) and power forward-center Payne (10.5 points, 7.6 rebounds).
North Carolina (25-11) returns three starters: shooting guard P.J. Hairston (14.6 points, 4.3 rebounds), power forward James Michael McAdoo (14.4 points, 7.3 rebounds) and point guard Marcus Paige (8.2 points, 4.6 assists).
The Spartans and Tar Heels have split four Challenge games. They played in December 2008 with North Carolina beating MSU, 98-63, at Detroit’s Ford Field. That turned out to be a preview of the 2009 NCAA championship game also won by the Tar Heels, 89-72, at the same venue.
MSU is 6-7 in the Challenge, including a 5-1 mark at Breslin.
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