The matchups for the 2020-21 Big 12/Big East Challenge have reportedly been set. Which games should NCAA Basketball fans be most intrigued by?
The ability to schedule for NCAA Basketball teams has changed in recent years. Between top conferences going up to 20 league games, early-season tournaments/neutral site games becoming more prevalent, and the traditional 5-6 “buy games” for each team, there are only a few available non-conference games for programs to schedule.
The power conferences have been looking for ways to add a quality matchup or two onto their teams’ schedules, including “challenges” with each other. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge is the most famous among them but others have recently started up. That includes the Big 12 taking on the Big East, with their inaugural challenge starting last season.
It was the Big East who prevailed overall in the first year, winning 8-2. Only Iowa State and Baylor were able to win their respective matchups for the Big 12, who suffered some surprising upsets (West Virginia losing to St. John’s and Texas Tech falling to DePaul) to end up losing. The premier game was undoubtedly Kansas at Villanova, with the Wildcats taking out the then No. 1 Jayhawks, 56-55.
The Big 12 hopes that next season will yield better collective results. And with the reported new schedule now out, there are opportunities for some teams to get quality wins for their respective resumes. At the same time, the possibility of suffering a debilitating defeat is there as well.
For most of these teams, their rosters for the 2020-21 season are all but set, giving us an early idea for how they look, as well as which matchups in next year’s Big 12/Big East Challenge will be must-watch. Who is the No. 1 game to watch next year in terms of intrigue? Check out this early preview of each game, ranked in terms of most fascinating.