Even though the beefed-up ACC will replace the Big East in ESPNs Big Monday lineup, next season's Big Monday games will still pack plenty of Big East flavor.
Among the eight ACC games included on the Big Monday schedule ESPN released on Wednesday are four involving ex-Big East teams Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame.
Pittsburgh will host Duke on June 27 in one of the new season's signature Big Monday games. Syracuse will host Notre Dame on Feb. 3 and will visit Maryland three weeks later. And the Irish will conclude the Big Monday slate with a visit to traditional ACC power North Carolina on March 3.
The intrigue of those new conference matchups is the highlight of the ACC portion of the Big Monday slate. The Big 12 portion is anchored by four appearances apiece from league favorites Kansas and Oklahoma State, though oddly none of the four matchups are against one-another.
The best of the games involving the Jayhawks is probably their visit to Iowa State to tip off the Big Monday slate on Jan. 13 or their home game against fellow contender Baylor the following week. The best of the games involving the Cowboys is either their visit to rival Oklahoma on Jan. 27 or their visit to Baylor on Feb. 17. Regardless, the fact all eight games on the Big Monday slate involve either Kansas or Oklahoma State is a show of respect to both those programs and to their big-ticket stars, Andrew Wiggins and Marcus Smart.
If there are any programs with reason to quibble with the Big Monday slate, it's traditional powers Texas and West Virginia, both of which were conspicuously absent from the eight-game Big 12 schedule. That the Longhorns and Mountaineers aren't involved is a sign of the low expectations for two programs depleted by transfers and coming off of very disappointing seasons.
All of the usual suspects from the ACC appear at least once, though neither defending champion Miami nor improving Boston College and Georgia Tech could have been thrilled about being shut out. It's a nice token of respect for Virginia that the Cavs get three Big Monday games next season, more than anyone in the ACC except North Carolina.
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