LINCOLN – Nebraska’s non-conference schedule got a little tougher Friday, as the Huskers will travel to NCAA Sweet 16 qualifier Clemson as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge announced by ESPN.
The matchup between the Huskers and Tigers will take place on Monday, Nov. 26, from Littlejohn Coliseum. Start time and television information will be announced at a later date, but all of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge games are on the ESPN family of networks.
The Tigers are coming off a 25-win season, as Clemson reached the NCAA Sweet 16 before falling to top-seeded Kansas, 80-76, in Omaha. Senior guards Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell lead an experienced lineup which returns three starters from a year ago.
Reed led the Tigers in scoring (15.8 ppg) and steals (58), as he ranked sixth in the ACC in steals per game. Mitchell averaged 12.2 points per game and dished out a team-high 3.6 assists per game. In addition, Elijah Thomas gives the Tigers a third double-figure scorer returning, as he averaged 10.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
Clemson, which tied a school record for conference wins in 2017-18, went 15-1 at home with the only setback being a one-point loss to Elite Eight qualifier Duke and finished 15th in the final USA Today/Coaches poll.
This will be the second time in three years that the Huskers and Tigers have squared off. In 2016, the Huskers dropped a heartbreaking 60-58 loss to the Tigers, as Tai Webster’s shot missed at the buzzer.
Husker senior Glynn Watson Jr. had 20 points, six rebounds and four steals to lead all scorers that evening. Watson and juniors Isaiah Roby and Jordy Tshimanga are the only current Huskers who played in that matchup against Clemson.
The Huskers have played well in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge under Miles, going 4-2 in six previous appearances, including road wins at Wake Forest (2012) and Florida State (2014). Nebraska is 4-3 all-time in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games since joining the Big Ten prior to the 2011-12 season with two of the losses coming by two points and the other in overtime.
Nebraska is one of only two Big Ten teams with a winning record in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Nebraska is 15-15 all-time against current ACC members following a win over Boston College last season.
Nebraska also returns five players who made at least 13 starts for NU in 2017-18 and 10 returning letterwinners from a team that went 22-10 and reached the NIT. The returnees are led by preseason All-America candidate James Palmer Jr., who led the Huskers in scoring at 17.2 points per game while also averaging 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
The guard from Upper Marboro, Md., was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last year, and is one of three double-figure scorers back for the Huskers. NU also returns senior forward Isaac Copeland Jr., who averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game in earning All-Big Ten honors, and Watson, who chipped in 10.5 points and 3.2 assists per game.
The Huskers’ matchup with Clemson is part of a loaded non-conference schedule which also features two games in Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic (Texas Tech, USC and Missouri State), a Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup with Seton Hall as well as the annual matchup with Creighton. The 2018-19 slate will also include 20 Big Ten games, as pairings were announced earlier this spring.
This is the 20th year of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and the Big Ten will look to regain the Commissioner’s Cup after the ACC has won the event in each of the past two years. The ACC leads the all-time series, 12-5-2, but the Big Ten is 5-2-2 over the last nine years.