It’s never too early to think about college basketball is it? It has been just over a month that the Duke Blue Devils cut down the nets in celebration of their second National Championship in five years. It has also been just over a month that the odds-on favorite, Kentucky Wildcats, entering into March Madness were bounced from the Final Four in Indianapolis.
Big Blue, along with nine of their fellow SEC schools, now know at one least non-conference opponent they need to prepare for. According to SECSports.com, the third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge Presented by Sonic will feature ten teams from each conference and will be played on Jan 30, 2016. All ten SEC teams competing in the 2016 event will also be featured in the 2017 event as well.
Fourteen of the twenty teams in the challenge earned berths to the 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament while nine of the ten games will boast at least one team that participated in the the 2015 Tournament. Some of the more intriguing games certainly caught my eye.
Kentucky and Kansas seemed to be on a collision course in the Elite Eight of the Midwest Region before Rock Chalk was ousted from the tournament by Wichita State. Fans will be able to indulge in what will more than likely be the main course of the entire challenge. The Jayhawks’ in-state rival, Kansas State missed the 2015 tournament and will play host to Ole Miss, who made an early exit in the Round of 64.
Baylor plays host to another Georgia team, this time the Bulldogs, just two months after being shocked by RJ Hunter and the Georgia State Panthers in the first round of the tournament in a bracket-busting upset. A matchup of two teams that have had rather disappointing seasons in the past few years will certainly get Joe Lunardi ranting about bubble teams as Texas takes on Vanderbilt.
The 2015-2016 college basketball season is still about six months away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t a little excited, right?
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports