Matchups for the inaugural Big 12/SEC Challenge – an early-season men’s basketball event matching 10 teams from two premier conferences against each other – have been determined. ESPN will provide exclusive coverage of all 10 games across its networks.
The Challenge includes five teams ranked in an early ESPN.com preseason top 25: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 5 Kansas, No. 7 Florida, No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 19 Baylor. Two games will pit ranked teams against each other: No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 19 Baylor and No. 5 Kansas at No. 7 Florida.
In the first year of the new agreement between ESPN and the conferences, eight of the 10 games will be played at home sites (each conference will host four home games) with two of the matchups at a neutral site. Ten of the 14 SEC teams (Arkansas, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee will not play in the first year) will participate each year against all 10 of the Big 12 members. The event’s title will alternate each year (it will be the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in 2014). While the inaugural Challenge takes place in November and December, ESPN and the conferences will work together to schedule matchups across consecutive days in future years.
2013 Big 12/SEC Challenge schedule (times and networks are to be determined):
|Thu, Nov 14||Texas Tech at Alabama|
|Mon, Dec 2||Vanderbilt at Texas|
|Auburn at Iowa State|
|Thu, Dec 5||Ole Miss at Kansas State|
|West Virginia at Missouri|
|TCU at Mississippi State|
|Fri, Dec 6||South Carolina at No. 11 Oklahoma State|
|No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 19 Baylor (Arlington)|
|Tue, Dec 10||No. 5 Kansas at No. 7 Florida|
|Sat, Dec 21||Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M (Houston)|
- Tourney Teams: Eight of the 20 teams played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament: Florida, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss
- Uncommon Opponent: Several of the games will feature teams that have not played each other very often, including: South Carolina and Oklahoma State in their second matchup (South Carolina won the first game); Auburn and Iowa State and TCU and Mississippi State playing for the third time (both series are tied 1-1); and West Virginia and Missouri meeting in the regular-season for the first time (they played in two NCAA Tournament games with each scoring a victory).
- Going for Undefeated: Ole Miss has defeated Kansas State in its three previous meetings, including the most recent in 2009.
- New Streaks: Kentucky had won its seven previous games against Baylor, including an 82-70 victory in the Elite Eight of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, before losing to the Bears in a regular-season game last season.
- Game 5: Kansas and Florida will play for the fifth time since 1994 and first since the 2006 Las Vegas Invitational contest. Kansas holds a 3-1 series lead.
- 80s Flashback: Vanderbilt and Texas will play for the first time since 1989 and seventh overall.
- Rematch: Texas Tech will visit Alabama after hosting the Crimson Tide in a game last season, a 66-62 Red Raiders loss. Alabama holds a 6-1 series lead.
- Nice to See You Again: Former conference partners Oklahoma and Texas A&M will meet for the 40th time.
The SEC and Big 12 have combined for seven Final Four appearances and four national titles in the last eight NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournaments: Kentucky (2012), Kansas (2008) and Florida (2007 and 2006).