Gophers travel to Virginia Tech for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge

TV: ESPN2 (Mike Monaco – pbp, Jordan Cornette, Analyst)
Tip Time: 6:01 PM CT
Radio: Learfield IMG: KFAN 100.3 FM
Mike Grimm (play-by-play), Spencer Tollackson (color)
Sirius: 371

2nd meeting in school history
(Home: 1:0)
First/only meeting: 2011
Gophers All-Time vs. ACC: 38-42
* – excluding cleared games

• The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team participates in its first real test of the road Monday when it plays Virginia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Blacksburg, Virginia. It is only the second time in school history that the two teams have faced each other and the Cassell Coliseum’s first.
• Minnesota defeated the Hokies 58-55 on November 30, 2011 in the only other game between the two schools. Starting for the first time in his career, Julian Welch led Minnesota by 15 points, including four clutch free throws in the last 20 seconds that turned a 54-53 deficit into the final margin of victory. Rodney Williams was 6-to-7 from the field and finished the game with 14 points and eight rebounds, which was the best game.
• The 2022 season marks the 24th ACC/Big Ten Challenge. ESPN Network will televise all 14 games and also stream them via the ESPN app. The Gophers are heading for this challenge, for the third time in the last five years and for the second year in a row. Minnesota has won the last three ACC/Big Ten Challenge contests and is 12-11 overall. The Gophers delivered a 54-53 win over Pittsburgh last season when Luke Loewe offered the putback for the win. The Gophers also defeated Boston College in 2020 (85-80 OT win) and Clemson in 2019 (W, 78-60).
• Minnesota went 1-1 in the SoCal Challenge on November 21-23 in San Juan Capistrano, California. The Gophers beat the California Baptist 62-61 in overtime Dawson Garcia added a bucket with 6.8 seconds left to claim the win. Pharrell Payne also earned his first double double of his Gopher career with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Minnesota advanced into the SoCal Championship division game but fell 71-62 to UNLV on Wednesday.
• The SoCal Challenge also marked the return of last season’s All-Big Ten selections Jamison battle to the Gopher cast. It was the first game of the season for the youngster after a foot operation. Last season, Battle averaged 17.5 points and 6.3 rebounds as the best team.

• Virginia Tech improved to 6-1 on Friday night as the Hokies defeated Charleston Southern 69-64 in front of a packed Cassell Coliseum (8,925). The Minnesota game is the second Big Ten team the Hokies have faced this season after clinching a 61-59 win over Penn State.
• Virginia Tech finished the 2021-22 season 23-13 and won the ACC Tournament Championship last season. Virginia Tech brought back six from that roster while adding nine newcomers. The Hokies have five such-average double-digit points in Sean Pedulla (17.1), Grant Basile (14.9), Justyn Mutts (12.0), Darius Maddox (11.3), and Hunter Cattoor (10.3). Mutts also averages 9.2 rebounds.
• As a team, the Hokies average 78.1 ppg, allowing for 65.3 ppg, shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from the arc.

• Minnesota continues its road trips as it opens the Big Ten season in Purdue on Sunday, December 4 at 4:00 pm CT. The Gophers and Boilermakers airs on Big Ten Network.