NCAA Purdue Virginia Basketball

Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite (left) goes to the basket against Purdue’s Grady Eifert during the second half of the South Regional final on March 30 in Louisville, Ky. Diakite will be back this season, Eifert will not.

The Virginia men’s basketball team will visit Purdue in this year’s Big Ten-ACC Challenge, but Virginia Tech will be skipping the event.

The pairings for the Challenge were announced Thursday.

Defending NCAA champ UVa will visit Purdue on Wednesday, Dec. 4. UVa beat Purdue 80-75 in overtime in the Elite Eight in March.

Purdue has two starters returning (Nojel Eastern and Matt Haarms) from last year’s 26-10 team, which won the Big Ten regular-season crown.

Virginia Tech volunteered to sit out this year’s Challenge, according to a Tech spokesman.

There are 15 ACC men’s basketball teams and only 14 Big Ten squads. Usually, one of the ACC teams that has had a bad season does not get to play in the Challenge the following season.

But Tech — which made the Sweet 16 last season — volunteered to skip the Challenge this time because of the travel logistics involved in playing in the Maui Invitational and because of the new 20-game ACC schedule, the Tech spokesman said.

Tech will play three games from Nov. 25-27 in the Maui Invitational. The Challenge will be held Dec. 2-4.

Last year, Duke played in both the Maui Invitational and in the Challenge. In 2017, Notre Dame played in both. In 2016, North Carolina played in both. In 2015, Wake Forest played in both. In 2014, Pittsburgh played in both. In 2013, Syracuse played in both.

The ACC’s conference schedule is expanding from 18 league games to 20 league games this season, giving teams two fewer nonleague opportunities and two more potentially tough ACC games.

This will be the first time Tech is not in the Challenge since 2013, when the Hokies were coming off a last-place season.

Virginia and Purdue will be meeting in the Challenge for the third time, including a UVa win in 2000 in Charlottesville and a Purdue win in 2006 in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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