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Nebrasketball: ACC/Big Ten Challenge Boston College Eagles Preview

The final matchup of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge awaits Husker fans

NCAA Basketball: ESPN Events Invitational-Nebraska vs Memphis Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers look to make it two-straight against ACC opponents this season as the Boston College Eagles come to Lincoln tomorrow night for the final year of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Wednesday’s game is also the annual Toys for Tots Drive, as the Huskers have partnered with the U.S. Marines on the event. Husker fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to the game, and cash donations for the cause will be taken. The Marines will be stationed at both Pinnacle Bank Arena entrances (South Lobby and North Entrance) to accept donations for children in the Omaha and Lincoln area.

The Huskers have not won a matchup in the annual event since 2018, but are 1-0 versus Boston College in the event having defeated the Eagles 71-62 in Lincoln in 2017. That matchup was the last time Nebraska played a home matchup in the event. The ACC won that year’s challenge 11-3, but marks the last time the ACC has won the event. The Big Ten is 8-12-3 overall in the 23 prior seasons of the challenge.

Nebraska is coming off a resounding 75-58 victory over Florida State Sunday in the final round of the ESPN Events Invitational outside Orlando, Florida. Five Huskers finished in double figures scoring, led by Derrick Walker’s double-double and who returned to the court for the first time against Memphis last week. The victory moved Nebraska to 4-3 overall on the season.

NCAA Basketball: ESPN Events Invitational Florida State vs Nebraska Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

As for the opponent, Boston College comes to Lincoln with a 5-2 record following a 53-49 win over Rhode Island on Sunday. BC held URI to 30.5 percent shooting, including just 3-of-16 from three-point range. Jaeden Zackery had 16 points while Devin McGlockton added 11 points off the bench. The Eagles shot just 30.4 percent but went 18-of-23 from the line and forced 16 turnovers in the win.

The Huskers and Eagles have on common opponent on the year. Nebraska’s season opening 79-66 win over Maine on Nov. 7 kicked off UNL’s season on a positive note. However, just a week later the Black Bears visited Conte Forum to take on Boston College in the Eagles’ home arena and left with a 69-64 victory on Nov. 14. It was Maine’s first win over a Power-Six opponent (also, media members need to stop calling basketball the “Power-Five” already) since 2011 when the Black Bears defeated Penn State.

Boston College returned four starters this season from a team that went 13-20 and tied for 11th in the ACC last year. The Eagles have battled injuries to start the young season but have featured a stout defense. BC has held opponents to 62.3 points per game with just one opponent scoring 70 points. Boston College has held its last two opponents (Wyoming and Rhode Island) under 50 points.

Makai Ashton-Langford leads the Eagles in scoring with 12.6 points per game and in assists with 2.6 per game. He also is averaging 1.7 steals per game. Meanwhile, sophomore Jaeden Zackery is the only other player for BC averaging double figures, scoring 11.6 ppg. While strong defensively, Boston College struggles mightily on offense. Eight players average at least 5.9 points per game, but the team is scoring just 64.3 ppg, good for 322nd out of 363.

Head coach Earl Grant is in his second season at Boston College after coaching at the College of Charleston for seven seasons prior to being hired to lead the Eagles. Grant helped the Cougars to a trio of 20-win seasons and one NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017-18. While the Cougars lost that NCAA Tournament matchup, the school did not a win in the 1997 NCAA Tournament, leaving the program with an all-time 1-5 record in the NCAA.

Grant also served as an assistant coach at The Citadel, Winthrop, Wichita State, and Clemson after playing collegiately at Georgia College. Jim Molinari will be a familiar face on the Boston College staff though. The Eagles assistant coach was an assistant coach at Nebraska from 2014 to 2019 under former head coach Tim Miles.

Wednesday’s meeting will be the second between the two schools with both coming in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. As mentioned above, UNL defeated BC 71-62 in Lincoln back in 2017. The Huskers had four players score double figures and used a 12-0 second-half run to break open a 59-57 game for the final margin.

  • When: Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 8:15 p.m. CT/9:15 ET
  • Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,000) - Lincoln, Nebraska
  • TV: ESPNU, streaming via WatchESPNApp
  • Announcers: David Saltzman (play-by-play), Mark Adams (analyst)
  • Radio: Huskers Radio Network; Kent Pavelka (play-by-play), Jake Muhleisen (analyst)
  • Broadcast Stations: KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KKCD (105.9 FM) in Omaha, KHYY (106.9 FM) in Scottsbluff, and KAMI (1580 AM) in Lexington
    Also available on and the Huskers app.
    The pregame broadcast with Pavelka and Muhleisen begins one hour before tipoff.
  • Betting Odds: Nebraska is a 4.5-point favorite with the Over/Under set at 130.5 according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Boston College No. 109 in KenPom
2022-23 Record: 5-2
Head Coach: Earl Grant
Record at BC: 18-22 (2nd year)
Career Record: 145-111 (9th year)

Nebraska No. 111 in KenPom
2022-23 Record: 4-3
Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 28-70 (4th year)
Career Record: 143-126 (9th year)