Huskers Travel To NC State For Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Photo Courtesy: Scott Bruhn. Nebraska Communication

Nebraska will face a first-time opponent in the 2021 Big Ten/ACC Men’s Basketball Challenge, as this season’s matchups were announced by ESPN and the respective conferences Monday afternoon.

The Huskers will travel to PNC Arena in Raleigh to take North Carolina State on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The start time and television information will be announced at a later date. All 14 games are carried on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) and available on the ESPN app.

Under fifth-year coach Kevin Keatts, NC State returns four of its top six scorers from last season’s 14-11 squad, including rising junior Manny Bates, who has led the ACC in blocks in his first two seasons with the Pack. Senior forward Jericole Hellems and sophomore Cam Hayes, who was one of the ACC’s top freshman point guards last season, also return for NC State. The Pack also added transfers Casey Morsell (Virginia) and Greg Gantt (Providence). NC State had won at least 20 games in the previous three seasons and has reached postseason play in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Last year, NC State finished ninth in the ACC with a 9-8 mark, but won its final five regular-season games, including a 68-61 win at No. 15 Virginia, before reaching the second round of the NIT.

Under third-year Head Coach Fred Hoiberg, Nebraska returns four starters (Trey McGowens, Dalano Banton, Lat Mayen and Derrick Walker) and five of its top six scorers from last season, although Banton declared for the NBA Draft and will have until early July to either return to school or stay in the draft. The Huskers also add a five-member recruiting class which is ranked as a high as 13th nationally by ESPN and features five-star recruit Bryce McGowens, Wilhelm Breidenbach, a top-100 recruit, and junior college All-American Keisei Tominaga. NU also adds a pair of former top-100 recruits in transfers CJ Wilcher (Xavier) and Keon Edwards (DePaul).

Nebraska is 5-5 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, including a 3-2 mark in road games. NU posted road wins in 2018 (at Clemson), 2014 (at Florida State) and 2012 (at Wake Forest).

It is the 23rd year of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, as the ACC holds a 12-7-3 lead, but the Big Ten is 7-2-3 over the last 11 seasons. Last season, the Big Ten went 7-5 to retain the Commissioner’s Cup for the second straight season.

With Monday’s announcement, NU’s two conference challenge games have been set, as the Huskers will host Creighton in the Gavitt Tipoff Games on Nov. 16. NU will also host Kansas State on Dec. 19.

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