The SEC/Big East Challenge doesn’t have the cachet of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, or even the history of its rival interleague series. The annual event has only been around since 2007, when just four teams from each conference participated. Beginning last season, the challenge took on its current format in which 12 teams from each league are paired based upon team strength and the attractiveness of the matchup. The schedule makers try to avoid repeat matchups at all costs.
SEC newcomers Missouri and Texas A&M must sit out the series this year, while Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh won’t participate for the Big East. As a result, the matchups are nowhere near as appealing as they otherwise could have been. Missouri is a serious contender for the SEC title this year. Preseason league favorite Louisville and a reloaded Pittsburgh team, meanwhile, are expected to finish in the top-third of the Big East.
The schedule for the SEC/Big East Challenge this year consists of 12 games, none of which on paper presents a lopsided matchup one way or another. Kentucky and Notre Dame are set to lock horns on Thursday night to tip off the three-day extravaganza. Marquette pays visit to Gainesville for a date with Florida in the nightcap. In the main event on Friday, Tennessee travels to the nation’s capital for a showdown with Georgetown. Syracuse’s first-ever trip to Fayetteville caps off Friday’s action. The Orange and Razorbacks meet for the first time since their overtime thriller in the 1995 NCAA tournament. Alabama and Cincinnati highlight day three in a matchup pitting two NCAA tournament teams from last year.
The complete schedule, including dates, times and coverage, is as follows:
THURSDAY, Nov. 29 (Eastern Time)
Kentucky at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
South Carolina at St. John’s, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Marquette at Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Seton Hall at LSU, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
FRIDAY, Nov. 30 (Eastern Time)
Tennessee at Georgetown, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Georgia at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Syracuse at Arkansas, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
DePaul at Auburn, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
SATURDAY, Dec. 1 (Eastern Time)
Mississippi State at Providence, Noon (ESPNU)
Rutgers at Ole Miss, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
Alabama at Cincinnati, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
Villanova at Vanderbilt, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Topics: Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Depaul Blue Demons, Florida Gators, Georgetown Hoyas, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, Lsu Tigers, Marquette Golden Eagles, Mississippi Rebels, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Providence Friars, Rutgers Scarlet Knight, Seton Hall Pirates, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, St. John's Red Storm, Syracuse Orange, Tennessee Volunteers, Vanderbilt Commodores, Villanova Wildcats