The pairings for the 2019 ACC-Big 10 Challenge have been unveiled, and Louisville will host Michigan on the night of Tuesday, Dec. 3.
This breaks the trend of U of L altering home and away games in the event, as the Cards defeated Michigan State at the KFC Yum Center in last year’s ACC-Big 10 Challenge. Louisville is 3-2 all-time in the event, winning all three of its home games and losing both its road tests.
Michigan had appeared poised to receive some significant buzz as a potential preseason No. 1 team before losing its top three scorers — Iggy Brazdeikis, Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole — to the NBA, and head coach John Beilein to a surprising defection to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even if new head coach Juwan Howard overachieves a bit in his few three weeks on the job, it seems more likely than not that the Wolverines won’t own a national ranking when they visit the Yum Center.
Louisville is 3-1 all-time against Michigan, with one of those victories coming in the 2013 national championship game. The most recent meeting between the pair came in the second round of the 2017 NCAA tournament, where the seventh-seeded Wolverines upset the second-seeded Cardinals. That game would wind up being Rick Pitino’s last at U of L.
While I would have liked to have seen Louisville face a higher-ranked foe like Michigan State, Maryland or Ohio State, this is still a matchup that will garner a solid amount of attention. The Cards figure to be ranked somewhere in the top 15 in early December, and there’s a healthy amount of interest in how Howard is going to fare at his alma mater.
Another interesting side note to this game revolves around Howard’s recent hiring of Phil Martelli as an assistant. Martelli, who was the head coach at Saint Joseph’s for 24 seasons before his surprising firing in March, coached new Louisville point guard Fresh Kimble for the past four seasons. Without Martelli’s firing, Kimble likely wouldn’t be a Cardinal in 2019-20.
Here are the full matchups for this year’s ACC-Big 10 Challenge:
The two conferences tied with seven wins apiece last season. The ACC won the challenge in both 2016 and 2017, and leads the all-time series, 12-5-3.