As usual, it appears the two conferences have done another stellar job of pitting marquee teams against one-another. Hopefully potential NCAA tournament teams Minnesota and Northwestern will both receive decent opponents as well, but here's a quick early breakdown of the five matchups already reported:
Michigan State at Duke: The event's featured matchup features an early showdown between two teams that may begin the season one-two in the polls. The Spartans lose only Raymar Morgan from a team that made its second straight Final Four appearance last season, while the Blue Devils can make up for the graduation of Jon Scheyer and Brian Zoubek with the arrival of transfer Seth Curry and a talented recruiting class.
Purdue at Virginia Tech: This is one way to force Hokies coach Seth Greenberg to upgrade his schedule. A Virginia Tech team that returns everyone from its 25-win NIT season last year hosts an opponent that has appeared in back-to-back Sweet 16s and should begin the season ranked in the top five in most polls.
Ohio State at Florida State: Both the Buckeyes and Seminoles lost their most high-profile players from last season, yet both could be comparable if not better next season. Ohio State returns every member of Evan Turner's supporting cast and adds heralded 6-foot-8 freshman Jared Sullinger, while Florida State hopes that the tandem of Chris Singleton and Michael Snaer put them in top 25 consideration.
North Carolina at Illinois: The return of Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis should assure Illinois of a return to the NCAA tournament next season. The Illini will receive an early test from North Carolina, which hopes the arrival of a star-studded class of freshman wings will offset the lack of depth down low behind Tyler Zeller and John Henson.
NC State at Wisconsin: There are few more intriguing teams next season than NC State, which has senior big man Tracy Smith and a loaded freshman class aiming to rejuvenate the program. An early opportunity to send a message will come at a Wisconsin team that will rely on senior-to-be Jon Leuer to maintain its streak of 12 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.