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.
- 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
- 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)
|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.