Illinois to face Maryland in ACC-Big Ten Challenge

John Supinie

CHAMPAIGN -- Once again, Illinois bumps into Maryland in the non-conference college basketball season. Illinois plays at Maryland on Nov. 29 in ACC-Big Ten Challenge pairings released Tuesday.

It won't be the same Maryland the Illini defeated 80-76 in Madison Square Garden in November, because the Terrapins underwent a surprise coaching change and lost their top player to the NBA draft.

Coach Gary Williams, an alum who led the Terps to the NCAA title in 2002, stepped down earlier this month. The school quickly filled the vacancy last week by hiring Mark Turgeon, who left Texas A&M after compiling a 97-40 record in four seasons with the Aggies. Turgeon earned the Big 12 coach of the year award the last two seasons.

Also, Maryland forward Jordan Williams, the team's top player last season, left for the NBA draft after the Terps finished 19-14 and didn't play in the postseason.

Of course, it's not the same Illini either after four starters graduated and freshman Jereme Richmond left for the NBA draft.

Illinois and Maryland meet for the fourth time in the Challenge and the third time at Maryland. The Terps won the previous three meetings against the Illini in the Challenge. Illinois won its last two games in the made-for-cable TV showdown, rallying past Clemson two years ago before pounding North Carolina last season.

Duke plays at Ohio State on Nov. 29 while Wisconsin travels to North Carolina on Nov. 30 in the other key matchups. With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten, the format has six games on Nov. 29 with six more on Nov. 30, so the event could end in a tie.

Other games on No. 29 are Miami at Purdue, Northwestern at Georgia Tech, Clemson at Iowa and Michigan at Virginia. The following night also includes Indiana at North Carolina State with Penn State at Boston College, Florida State at Michigan State, Virginia Tech at Minnesota and Wake Forest at Nebraska.

Times and TV assignments will be announced later.

NOTE: One day after Illini athletic director Ron Guenther announced his retirement, senior associate athletics director Terry Cole said he will retire in August after 32 years on the job.

John Supinie can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JohnSupinie.