SEC/Big East Matchups Announced, But Lack a Headliner

Posted by Brian Joyce on June 2nd, 2012

The SEC and Big East released the 12 pairings for its annual challenge on Friday, but lacks the powerhouse matchups one blogger expected. The scheduled games are as follows:

Thursday, November 29

  • Marquette at Florida
  • Seton Hall at LSU
  • Kentucky at Notre Dame
  • South Carolina at St. John’s

Friday, November 30

  • Syracuse at Arkansas
  • DePaul at Auburn
  • Tennessee at Georgetown
  • Georgia at South Florida

Saturday, December 1

  • Alabama at Cincinnati
  • Rutgers at Mississippi
  • Mississippi State at Providence
  • Villanova at Vanderbilt

Where are the headliner games? Where is Kentucky versus Syracuse? Louisville versus Florida? Missouri versus Notre Dame? Well, these games don’t exist because of the fine print in the conferences’ two-year agreement. After digging down into the logistics, the pairings make more sense, but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that this challenge lacks the firepower of the ACC/Big Ten matchup.

The agreement stipulates that there will be 12 participants from each conference per year with each getting a home and away game. Because the number of Big East schools outnumber the number of SEC teams, Big East members Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh will not be participating, removing three top tier teams from the mix. Incoming SEC members Missouri and Texas A&M will also be sitting out next year’s event.

And the reason we lack a Kentucky versus Syracuse matchup? The Orange and the Wildcats held home games last year obligating both teams to go on the road for the 2012 challenge. So while North Carolina takes on Indiana and Duke battles it out with Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten rivalry, Big East and SEC fans are left with games considerably less intriguing.

Syracuse is not exactly happy about the pairings. And for different reasons, quite frankly, neither am I. After reviewing the logistics of the challenge, it all makes a bit more sense, but it doesn’t mean we have to be happy about it. This series exhibits just as much interest and quality as the ACC/Big Ten challenge, but has gotten caught up in the red tape. If this series is to be a made for TV match-up each year, then do the courtesy to give us a headliner worthy of prime time television.

Brian Joyce (333 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.

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