APTOPIX NCAA Purdue Virginia Basketball

Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite (center) exults with teammates Kyle Guy (left) and Jack Salt after hitting a shot to send the South Region final against Purdue into overtime.

Defending national champion Virginia will play at Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten basketball challenge, a rematch of last year’s thrilling Elite Eight game.

Virginia Tech, coming off its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance but under a new head coach, won’t be part of the annual event. The program "volunteered" not to be included, a school spokesperson said Thursday.

One ACC school sits out the challenge each year.

The Hokies, who will be playing their first season under new coach Mike Young, have the Maui Invitational on the schedule and this will be the first year of the 20-game ACC schedule. With those factors, the spokesperson said it was a good year for Tech to pass on the yearly matchup with the Big Ten Conference.

“Between logistics surrounding the Maui trip travel and the 20 game ACC schedule, we volunteered to sit this one out,” the spokesperson said in an email.

The Cavaliers, who beat the Boilermakers 80-75 in overtime – forcing the extra period when Mamadi Diakite hit a jump shot at the buzzer – will play at Purdue on Dec. 4, one of 14 games in the challenge.

Diakite announced last week he is returning for his senior season at UVA, withdrawing his name from the NBA draft pool.

Michigan State and Duke, which beat Tech in the Sweet 16, will also have an Elite Eight rematch. Those two teams play Dec. 3 in East Lansing, Mich.

The ACC has won 12 of 20 past challenges, with three ties. It hasn’t lost the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since 2015. Last year was a tie.

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