The matchups for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge presented by Sonic – which will again be staged on a common bye date of Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, during the conference schedule – are headlined by a potential top-10 matchup between No. 4 Kansas at No. 3 Kentucky. The fourth annual event matches all 10 of the Big 12 members against 10 of the 14 programs from the Southeastern Conference. Each conference will host five games with the network assignments and tip times to be announced at a later date.
Seven of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, one game on ESPN2 or ESPNU and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will also be available via WatchESPN.
ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the Saturday roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season – will originate from one of the Challenge games, to be announced at a later date.
A total of six teams are ranked in Eamonn Brennan’s ESPN.com early preseason top 25 poll: No. 3 Kentucky, No. 4 Kansas, No. 15 West Virginia, No. 18 Oklahoma, No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 22 Iowa State.
- The same teams return from last year’s Challenge with only one rematch – Kentucky and Kansas, who played to a 90-84 overtime Jayhawk victory.
- Georgia is appearing in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge for the second time, while Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M are playing for the third time.
- All of the Big 12 schools plus the SEC’s Auburn, Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt have participated in each of the last three Challenges.
- Two potential top-25 matchups include No. 4 Kansas at No. 3 Kentucky and No. 19 Texas A&M at No. 15 West Virginia.
- First-time Challenge matchups for Texas-Georgia, Baylor-Ole Miss, Texas A&M-West Virginia, Florida-Oklahoma, Iowa State-Vanderbilt, Arkansas-Oklahoma State, Auburn-TCU and LSU-Texas Tech.
- Kansas State and Tennessee last met in the Challenge in 2014.
- Alabama, Mississippi State, Missouri and South Carolina will again not be competing in this year’s Challenge.
- Ten teams competed in the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship: Final Four participant Oklahoma; Elite Eight team Kansas; Sweet 16 teams Texas A&M and Iowa State, as well as Baylor, Kentucky, Texas, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.
- The Challenge field has eight players ranked in the top 25 of 2016 ESPN Recruiting Nation 100, including four of the top 10: No. 2 Josh Jackson (SF, Kansas); No. 5 Bam Adebayo (PF, Kentucky); No. 6 De’Aaron Fox (PG, Kentucky) and No. 9 Malik Monk (SG, Kentucky).
- Kentucky fields the No. 1-ranked incoming class, Mississippi State stands at No. 5 and Kansas is No. 7 in the top 10 of the 2016 ESPN Recruiting Nation Class Rankings.
2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge presented by Sonic schedule (networks & times will be announced in August)
|Sat, Jan 28||Texas at Georgia|
|Baylor at Ole Miss|
|No. 4 Kansas at No. 3 Kentucky|
|No. 19 Texas A&M at No. 15 West Virginia|
|Florida at No. 18 Oklahoma|
|No. 22 Iowa State at Vanderbilt|
|Kansas State at Tennessee|
|Arkansas at Oklahoma State|
|Auburn at TCU|
|LSU at Texas Tech|
The 2016 Challenge, set for the first time on a common-bye date of January 30 during conference play – saw the Big 12 winning seven of the matchups. The Big 12 won six of the 10 matchups in the multi-day event in 2014 and the inaugural event in 2013 was won by the Big 12 with seven victories.