It had been talked about for the better part of a year, and on Tuesday the talk turned to action. The Big 12 and Southeastern Conference will begin an annual basketball challenge series, beginning with the 2013-14 season.
Nine of the 10 Big 12 men’s teams will be matched against an SEC opponent during the month of December this year. Texas Tech will get the series started with a Nov. 14 date at Alabama. Three games will be hosted at Big 12 venues, five away on SEC courts and two will be held at neutral sites.
The most intriguing of the 2013-14 matchups will be West Virginia at Missouri, the new Big 12 school against the former Big 12 team. One sports journalisthas labeled this pairing “The Brawl for It All” to determine which conference gained the most from the conference realignment that resulted in Missouri leaving for the SEC and West Virginia replacing the Tigers in the B9ig 12.
The best of the Challenge matchups from a pure skills standpoint, however, appears to be Kansas, which on Tuesday reeled in the nation’s top recruit for the 2013-14 season, at Florida on Dec. 10. The Jayhawks are ranked No, 5 in the ESPN.com preseason top 25, while Florida comes in at No. 7.
Most of the Big 12/SEC Challenge games in the upcoming season – seven of them – will be over a four-day period between Dec. 6 and Dec. 9. Officials of the two conferences say that there will be a concerted effort in future years to schedule all 10 games over consecutive days.
Besides Kansas, two other Big 12 teams are ranked in the ESPN 2013-14 preseason top 25: No. 11 Oklahoma State, and No. 19 Baylor. Kentucky, ranked No. 1, is the only SEC school other than Florida in the preseason top 25.
This will be the first inter-conference challenge series the Big 12 has been a part of since a four-year series with the Pac-12 from 2007-10. The Big 12 had a 26-20 advantage in that series.
2013 Big 12/SEC Men’s Basketball Challenge
Texas Tech @ Alabama
Vanderbilt @ Texas
Auburn @ Iowa State
Mississippi @ Kansas State
West Virginia @ Missouri
TCU @ Mississippi State
Baylor vs. Kentucky @ Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
South Carolina @ Oklahoma State
Kansas @ Florida
Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M @Toyota Center in Houston
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