Duke basketball: ESPN butchers ACC/SEC Challenge, Devils draw ‘Hogs

Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball matchup in the ACC vs. SEC Challenge was completely butchered. 

When the announcement came that last season would be the final year of the ACC vs. Big Ten Challenge and it would be replaced by the ACC vs. SEC Challenge, it felt obvious who the Duke basketball team would draw.

A matchup between the two biggest brands in college basketball, Duke and Kentucky, either at Rupp Arena or Cameron Indoor Stadium was the slam dunk choice since the two programs do not meet in the Champions Classic this season.

Well, that slam dunk clanked off the back of the rim.

Not only will Duke not play Kentucky in the ACC vs. SEC Challenge, the Blue Devils will not even get a rematch with Tennessee, the team that eliminated them from the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32.

Instead, Duke will travel to Arkansas on November 29 for the inaugural showdown.

Tipoff is scheduled for 9:15p.m. ET (ESPN).

The matchup is no slight against Arkansas, which has developed into an outstanding program under head coach Eric Musselman, but rather a head-scratching decision not having an iconic matchup between Duke and Kentucky on either team’s home court.

The Razorbacks are coming off of yet another deep NCAA Tournament run that ended in the Sweet 16 to eventual National Champion Connecticut.

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Duke last played Arkansas in the Elite 8 of the 2021 NCAA Tournament in which the Blue Devils advanced to the Final Four.

The two programs have only met four times, splitting the contests.

Duke basketball loaded schedule nearly complete

Duke now has four elite non-conference games on its schedule and only one coming inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils host Arizona (Nov. 10) in the first week of the season before having to travel to Chicago to play Michigan State in the Champions Classic (Nov. 14).

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Jon Scheyer also will bring his team to New York City to face Baylor (Dec. 20).

There are still two open slots in the non-conference schedule for Duke, one being the season opener and another buy-game in Durham.

Fans will have to wait at least two more seasons to see Duke in Rupp Arena or Kentucky in Cameron because the programs are scheduled clash in the 2024 Champions Classic.

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