ESPN has finalized the network and time assignments for the inaugural BIG EAST/SEC Challenge, an early-season three-day men’s basketball event matching 12 teams from each of the premier conferences against each other December 1-3. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com will combine to televise all 12 games.
The inaugural Challenge involves nine teams ranked in the early preseason top 25 by ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz: No. 2 Kentucky, No. 4 Syracuse, No. 6 Connecticut, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 9 Louisville, No. 12 Florida, No. 14 Alabama, No. 17 Pittsburgh and No. 19 Cincinnati. Overall, the field of 24 consists of 13 teams from the 2011 NCAA Tournament (eight from the BIG EAST and five from the Southeastern Conference).
All 12 games will be played at home sites with each conference hosting six games a year. SEC teams will alternate home and away games. Twelve of the 16 BIG EAST teams (17 teams in the second year) will participate each year. The event title will alternate to the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge in 2012 and be played Thursday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 1.
2011 BIG EAST/SEC Challenge schedule:
Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Dec 1
- Providence at South Carolina ESPNU @ 7:00 p.m.
- 7:30 p.m. St. John’s at No. 2 Kentucky ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
- 9 p.m. Mississippi at DePaul ESPNU
- 9:30 p.m. Georgetown at No. 14 Alabama ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Fri, Dec 2
- 6:30 p.m. No. 12 Florida at No. 4 Syracuse ESPN / ESPN3.com
- 7 p.m. No. 19 Cincinnati at Georgia ESPNU
- 8:30 p.m. No. 7 Vanderbilt at No. 9 Louisville ESPN / ESPN3.com
- 9 p.m. Auburn at Seton Hall ESPNU
Sat, Dec 3
- 3:15 p.m. Arkansas at No. 6 Connecticut ESPN / ESPN3.com
- 5:15 p.m. No. 17 Pittsburgh at Tennessee ESPN / ESPN3.com
- 7 p.m. LSU at Rutgers ESPNU
- 9 p.m. West Virginia at Mississippi State ESPNU
The new Challenge marks an expansion and modification of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational that featured four matchups between the two conferences from two neutral sites from 2007-10. Over the four years of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational, the conferences – which each won eight games over the four years – split the series in 2008 and 2009 and each won one (SEC in 2010 and BIG EAST in 2007).