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ESPN ranks Pitt-Maryland as sixth best ACC-B1G Challenge game

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, it was announced that Pitt would face Maryland as part of the 2016 ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Selfishly, it would have been interesting to see Pitt face Indiana and former guard Josh Newkirk. But playing the Terrapins gives the program a pretty good opponent.

The Panthers get another solid opponent after facing Purdue and Indiana in the past two seasons and ESPN believes the game is one of the better ones in the annual event, ranking it sixth out of the 14 games.

6. Pittsburgh at Maryland: Pitt coach Kevin Stallings is new to this challenge, but he knows Maryland coach Mark Turgeon very well. Both served on the same staff as assistant coaches at Kansas under Roy Williams for three seasons. The Terps are in a situation like that of Syracuse, unexpectedly losing forward Robert Carter to the NBA draft and with Melo Trimble still undecided.

Looking at the list, it's difficult to rank the game much higher. It's certainly not ahead of the top two contests pitting Duke against Michigan State and North Carolina against Indiana. It also probably doesn't belong ahead of Louisville-Purdue or Virginia-Ohio State. Syracuse-Wisconsin at No. 5 is also a solid game and it's hard to complain about that, either, after the Orange's Final Four run last season. Maryland also lost some key players, so they could be a bit down as well.

It's early but it also looks like it could be a game against two relatively even teams.

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