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The University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team will travel to College Park, Md., to face Maryland in the 2016 ACC-Big Ten Challenge in a Nov. 29 contest at the XFINITY Center. Tip time and TV designation for the game will be announced at a later date.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 14 games of the event matching top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioner’s Cup. All 14 games will also be available via WatchESPN.

“The ACC-Big Ten Challenge is one of the premiere events in the early part of the college basketball season,” said head coach Kevin Stallings. “Maryland is one of the top teams in the Big Ten and we look forward to the matchup. This is a great non-conference game that will help us prepare for a challenging ACC schedule.”

Pitt is 1-2 all-time in ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchups, including a 72-59 loss to 11th-ranked Purdue last season at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers are 0-1 on the road in challenge matchups with a loss at Indiana in 2014.

Pitt and Maryland have met nine times previously with the Terrapins holding a slight 5-4 advantage. The Panthers have won three straight in the series, including both games during the 2013-14 season prior to Maryland’s departure from the ACC. Pitt is 1-0 at the XFINITY Center with an 83-79 win over the Terrapins Jan. 25, 2014.

The Panthers return six of their top seven scorers from a year ago, including third team All-ACC selection Michael Young. The rising senior averaged 15.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game a year ago in helping Pitt to a 21-12 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Rising seniors Jamel Artis (14.4 ppg.), Sheldon Jeter (8.1 ppg., 4.8 rpg.) and Chris Jones (6.1 ppg.) also have extensive starting experience, while Ryan Luther (5.0 ppg.) and Cameron Johnson (4.8 ppg.) emerged as key contributors late in the 2015-16 season.

Maryland is expected to return several notable players from last season’s team that finished 27-9 and reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Rising junior Melo Trimble, 2016 preseason All-America selection, is expected to make a decision on whether or not to enter the NBA Draft in the coming days.

A total of 10 teams – five from each conference – are ranked in Eamonn Brennan’s early preseason top 25 poll: No. 1 Duke; No. 5 Louisville; No. 6 North Carolina; No. 7 Virginia; No. 8 Indiana; No. 9 Wisconsin; No. 13 Michigan State; No. 14 Maryland; No. 16 Purdue and No. 17 Syracuse.

The Big Ten captured the Commissioner’s Cup in 2015 and 2014, winning eight of the 14 matchups both years. The two conferences split the previous two events, winning six Challenge games each in 2012 and 2013. The ACC won the first 10 Challenges (1999-2008), while the Big Ten won the next three (2009-2011). In the event of a tie, the Commissioner’s Cup remains with the conference that won the previous year. The ACC holds the 10-5-2 winning record in the previous 17 years.

Posted in College Sports