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The SEC/Big 12 Challenge highlighted by two sensational matchups

May 7, 2014, 2:27 PM EST

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The SEC/Big 12 Challenge announced the schedule for its second season, and while the depth of games are weakened by the lack of intriguing teams in the SEC, it will be highlighted by a Friday night with what should end up being two best games of the season.

On December 5th, Florida will be heading to Lawrence to take on Kansas. The Jayhawks paid a visit to Gainesville last season and were smacked around by Florida for 35 minutes before Andrew Wiggins finally woke up and made the final score respectable. This season, despite Florida losing four senior starters to graduation and Kansas losing two players that could end up being top three picks, both the Gators and the Jayhawks are top 15 teams in the NBCSports.com preseason top 25.

Kansas reloads, as Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre and Devonte Graham will join Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis on a team that sits at No. 5 overall. While Florida also brings in a talented recruiting class and returns Michael Frazier and Dorian Finney-Smith, the key to their team is going to be the development of former McDonald All-Americans Kasey Hill and Chris Walker. They are 15th in our top 25 right now, but that could end up being too low is everyone develops like they are expected to.

Florida at Kansas, as intriguing as it is, is only the undercard on Friday as Texas will pay a visit to Rupp Arena to take on the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country in Kentucky.

We all know how good the Wildcats are supposed to be this season. Not only do they once again bring in a promising recruiting class, but they returned six of the eight guys from last season that had a chance to get drafted this year. The presence of the Harrisons makes Kentucky the way-too-early title favorite, but it is their unbelievably big, talented and deep front line that will terrify opponents.

But here’s the thing: Texas will have one of the few front lines that will be able to matchup with the Wildcats. Cameron Ridley, Jonathan Holmes and Prince Ibeh all return while they add Myles Turner, a top ten recruit in the Class of 2014. With the ability of Holmes to play on the perimeter, the Longhorns are one of the few teams that can match Kentucky’s biggest lineup inch-for-inch.

The rest of the schedule is not quite as intriguing. Iowa State, who is a top 25 team, will host Arkansas, who returned enough talent that they could end up being an NCAA tournament team. With the up-and-down style of both teams, that game will at least be a fun watch. LSU should be another tournament-caliber team in the SEC, but with West Virginia losing Eron Harris, the Mountaineers look to be headed back to the NIT.

Missouri-Oklahoma should probably be the fourth-best game of the event, depending on what kind of team first year coach Kim Anderson fields. That should tell you what we’re working with here.

The Big 12 won the challenge 7-3 last season.

Here is the complete schedule:

Wednesday, Dec. 3

  • Auburn at Texas Tech

Thursday, Dec. 4

  • Arkansas at Iowa State
  • Baylor at Vanderbilt
  • LSU at West Virginia
  • TCU at Ole Miss

Friday, Dec. 5

  • Florida at Kansas
  • Missouri at Oklahoma
  • Texas at Kentucky

Saturday, Dec. 6

  • Kansas State at Tennessee
  • Oklahoma State at South Carolina
  1. digideth - May 7, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    It should be MIZZOU playing kansas but no ku won’t do it…. ridiculous.

    That would have been the top game.

    • jwbraiderdan - May 8, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Fizzou playing Kansas? Is the purpose of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge to pit the top teams of the Big 12 vs. the bottom rung teams from the SEC?

  2. musketmaniac - May 7, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    looking forward to Lsu

  3. jbaxt - May 8, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    It’s comical KU is afraid of MU. It was a great boarder war and MU left for SEC football, the biggest payday a in sports. Bit KU got it’s feelings hurt over it. Jealousy is an unfortunate outcome.

    • jwbraiderdan - May 8, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      Afraid of mu? Wow, that has to be a short list of teams that fit that description! Is the purpose of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge to pit the top teams of the Big 12 vs. the bottom rung teams from the SEC?

      • tophawk38 - May 8, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        LOL mu fans are obsessed with KU. It’s quite sad and fascinating.

  4. florida727 - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Florida at #15? Even as a Gator fan, I find that hard to believe. We lost too much to be ranked that high this early (pre-season). The potential is there, but that’s all it is… potential. Early season game at Kansas? I’m not counting on that one going into the lefthand column quite yet.

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