The SEC/Big 12 Challenge kicked off on Wednesday night as Texas Tech knocked off Auburn in a … thriller? The Red Raiders won 46-44, but the highlights aren’t going to be shown on Sportscenter over and over and over again.
And that will likely end up being the case for a number of the games in this event, but not all of them. There are four games worth paying close attention to over the next two days, and here is a quick breakdown of each of them. (The full schedule for the event can be found below.)
1. No. 6 Texas at No. 1 Kentucky, Fri. 7:00 p.m.: It’s a shame that Isaiah Taylor’s wrist injury will keep him out for this game, because he is the guy that would have made the difference for the Longhorns. Kentucky is as big and as talented up front as anyone in the country, but Texas is one of the few teams that can match up with them, body for body. They have four guys capable of starting that stand between 6-foot-10 and 7-feet, and that’s before you factor in that 6-foot-8 Jonathan Holmes is their starting small forward. Taylor, however, is the speed demon that could have taken advantage of the slower Harrison twins. Without him on the floor, I’m not sure that Texas has the pieces in their back court to leave Rupp Arena with a victory.
2. No. 20 Arkansas at No. 18 Iowa State, Thu. 9:00 p.m.: This might be the most intriguing matchup of the entire event. Arkansas is as good as they have been under Mike Anderson, with Bobby Portis anchoring a roster full of athletes that can really pressure you for 94 feet. Iowa State has one of the nation’s most underrated point guards in Monte’ Morris, and Georges Niang is an all-american. Hilton Coliseum is one of the toughest places to get a win, however, and the Razorbacks usually struggle away from home.
3. Florida at No. 11 Kansas, Fri. 9:00 p.m.: The Jayhawks have struggled early on this season, but they righted their ship in Orlando last week. Perry Ellis played very well, Cliff Alexander is finally figuring out how to compete at this level and Svi Mykhailiuk is giving Bill Self some shooting prowess from his perimeter. Eventually, Wayne Selden and Kelly Oubre will wake up as well, and when they do, watch out. As far as Florida is concerned, they’re young, they have no depth and they have a number of injuries right now. That’s not a good combination of things for a college basketball team.
4. LSU at No. 16 West Virginia, Thu. 7:00 p.m.: West Virginia has been one of the nation’s biggest surprises this season, while LSU has been one of the biggest disappointments. What wins out?
Thursday, Dec. 4
- No. 20 Arkansas at No. 18 Iowa State, 9:00 p.m.
- LSU at No. 16 West Virginia, 7:00 p.m.
- Baylor at Vanderbilt, 7:00 p.m.
- TCU at Ole Miss, 9:00 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 5
- No. 6 Texas at No. 1 Kentucky, 7:00 p.m.
- Florida at No. 11 Kansas, 9:00 p.m.
- Missouri at No. 22 Oklahoma, 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 6
- Kansas State at Tennessee, 3:15 p.m.
- Oklahoma State at South Carolina, 12:00 p.m.