WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – One of the final pieces of Purdue’s non-conference schedule was announced today as ESPN revealed the Boilermakers will host Virginia in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Mackey Arena.
Television assignments for the Challenge games will come at a later date.
The contest will be a rematch of one of the best games in NCAA Tournament history as Virginia held off Purdue in overtime 80-75 in last year’s Elite Eight game in Louisville, Kentucky. The Cavaliers would go on to win their first national championship in Minneapolis a week later.
Purdue owns a Big Ten-best 10-8 record in the Challenge, while Virginia will arrive with a 13-6 Challenge mark – the second-best ACC record.
It also marks the second time in four years that Purdue will host the defending national champion in a non-conference game. Villanova, which won the 2016 national title, defeated Purdue 79-76 in the 2016 Gavitt Games played in Mackey Arena.
Virginia won the national title with a 35-3 overall record while boasting the nation’s second-ranked offense and the No. 5-ranked defense. However, three standouts from that squad has announced they will stay in the NBA Draft (Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy and DeAndre Hunter), while Kihei Clark and Mamadi Diakite will return for head coach Tony Bennett. Despite the personnel losses, Virginia is still ranked in the top 10 in everyone’s early top-25 polls.
Purdue is in a similar position as Virginia, losing three starters but returning several key contributors from last year’s Elite Eight squad. Nojel Eastern and Matt Haarms are returning starters as juniors, and regulars Evan Boudreaux, Aaron Wheeler, Eric Hunter Jr., Trevion Williams and Sasha Stefanovic all return after strong seasons. Head coach Matt Painter also welcomes a highly-regarded freshman class and high-scoring grad transfer Jahaad Proctor.
Virginia leads the all-time series with Purdue by a 2-1 margin, with the first two meetings come in the Challenge in 2000 and 2006 respectively.
The lone non-conference games remaining to be announced for the Boilermakers are the Emerald Coast Classic matchups the weekend after Thanksgiving. Purdue will play Tennessee, Florida State or VCU in the opening round.