Men’s College Basketball: 2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge Matchups Set for January 27

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Men’s College Basketball: 2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge Matchups Set for January 27

The matchups for the Big 12/SEC Challenge, taking place on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, during the conference schedule – are headlined by a potential top-10 matchup between No. 4 Kentucky at No. 9 West Virginia. The annual event, in its fifth year, 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.

Four of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN, four on ESPN2 and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will also be available on the ESPN app.

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 five teams are ranked in Myron Metcalf’s ESPN.com way-too-early preseason top 25 poll: No. 2 Kansas, No. 4 Kentucky, No. 8 Florida, No. 9 West Virginia and No. 24 Texas.

Schedule highlights

  • First-time Challenge matchups for Kentucky-West Virginia, Texas A&M-Kansas, Baylor-Florida, Oklahoma-Alabama, Ole Miss-Texas, Texas Tech-South Carolina, TCU-Vanderbilt and Tennessee-Iowa State
  • All of the Big 12 schools plus the SEC’s Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt have participated in each of the last four Challenges
  • Matchup between Oklahoma State and Arkansas is a rematch from the 2017 Challenge
  • South Carolina returns to the Challenge for the first time since 2014; became the first Final Four participant in program history last season

Team highlights

  • Eleven teams competed in the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship: Final Four participant South Carolina; Elite Eight teams Florida, Kansas and Kentucky; Sweet 16 teams Baylor and West Virginia, as well as Arkansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt
  • The Challenge field has 10 players ranked in the top 25 of 2017 ESPN Recruiting Nation 100, including three of the top 10: No. 3 Mohamed Bamba (Texas), No. 6 Collin Sexton (Alabama), No. 9 Kevin Knox (Kentucky), No. 11 P.J. Washington (Kentucky), No. 16 Nick Richards (Kentucky), No. 17 Billy Preston (Kansas), No. 18 Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky), No. 21 John Petty (Alabama), No. 22 Trae Young (Oklahoma) and No. 23 Quade Green (Kentucky)
  • Kentucky once again boasts the No. 1-ranked incoming class, while Texas (No. 5), Alabama (No. 7) and Florida (No. 11) rank in the top 15 of the 2017 ESPN Recruiting Nation Class Rankings

2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge schedule (networks & times will be announced in August)

Date Matchup
Sat, Jan 27 No. 4 Kentucky at No. 9 West Virginia
  Texas A&M at No. 2 Kansas
  Baylor at No. 8 Florida
  Oklahoma at Alabama
  Ole Miss at No. 24 Texas
  Oklahoma State at Arkansas
  Texas Tech at South Carolina
  TCU at Vanderbilt
Tennessee at Iowa State
  Georgia at Kansas State

The 2017 Challenge saw the Big 12 and SEC split with five wins each. The Big 12 won seven of the 10 matchups in 2016, and the 2015 event saw the Big 12 with six victories over four days of play.

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Anna Negron

It was always a dream of mine to work at ESPN, and here I am! I joined the College Sports PR team in March 2016. Hailing from the great Garden State, I graduated from Seton Hall University (Go Pirates!) with a degree in sport management, where I not only sang the National Anthem at games, but was also a member of the Seton Hall Sapphires Dance Team and a student reporter for Pirate Sports Network. Before joining ESPN, I served as a Public Relations Associate for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
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