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SEC releases conference schedule: Bruce Pearl returns to Tennessee on January 31

Aug 16, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

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The SEC released its conference schedule on Friday evening. The entire schedule can be seen here.

During the 2013-2014 season, the spotlight of the SEC was on Florida and Kentucky. Entering this season, the focus won’t shift from the Gators and the Wildcats. Florida and Kentucky, half of last season’s Final Four, won’t meet until Feb. 7 when the Wildcats visit Gainesville. The two teams will clash again a month later on March 7 in Lexington.

The Gators defeated the Wildcats three times last season, en route to a perfect 18-0 record in conference play. Kentucky dropped three of its last four SEC conference contests in the regular season before going on an NCAA tournament run that ended with a loss in the national championship game. Kentucky should open the 2014-2015 season atop the rankings. Florida will likely be in the top 15.

Auburn finished 12th in the SEC last season, but made major news this offseason when the university hired Bruce Pearl as its new head coach. This is Pearl’s return to coaching after a three year absence. He was fired from Tennessee in 2011 after he lied to NCAA investigators. In six seasons with the Volunteers, Pearl won 145 games. He returns to Tennessee, with a fanbase that still adores him, on Saturday, Jan. 31.

Conference play officially begins Jan. 6 with four games scheduled. One of those games pits Arkansas against Georgia. The Razorbacks were on the bubble last season, though, a loss to South Carolina in the second round of the SEC Tournament dashed their tournament hopes. Georgia finished third in the SEC last season. Both teams could be back on the bubble again this season, along with LSU. The Tigers open its conference schedule on Jan. 8 against Missouri, in what will be Kim Anderson’s SEC debut.