ESPN finalized the network and time assignments for the inaugural BIG EAST/SEC Challenge, an early-season three-day men's basketball event matching 12 teams from each of the premier conferences against each other December 1-3. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com will combine to televise all 12 games.
Tennessee's Dec. 3 tilt with No. 17 Pitt will take place on ESPN at 5:15 p.m. The Vols defeated the Panthers last season 83-76 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
The inaugural Challenge involves nine teams ranked in the early preseason top 25 by ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz:
No. 2 Kentucky, No. 4 Syracuse, No. 6 Connecticut, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No.
9 Louisville, No. 12 Florida, No. 14 Alabama, No. 17 Pittsburgh and No.
19 Cincinnati. Overall, the field of 24 consists of 13 teams from the
2011 NCAA Tournament (eight from the BIG EAST and five from the Southeastern Conference).
All 12 games will be played at home sites with each conference hosting six games a year. SEC teams will alternate home and away games. Twelve of the 16 BIG EAST teams (17 teams in the second year) will participate each year. The event title will alternate to the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge in 2012 and be played Thursday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 1.
Below is a complete schedule of all BIG EAST/SEC Challenge
Date Time (ET) Game (Network)
Thu, Dec 1 7 p.m. Providence at South Carolina (ESPNU)
7:30 p.m. St. John's at No. 2 Kentucky (ESPN2/ESPN3.com)
9 p.m. Mississippi at DePaul (ESPNU)
9:30 p.m. Georgetown at No. 14 Alabama (ESPN2/ESPN3.com)
Fri, Dec 2 6:30 p.m. No. 12 Florida at No. 4 Syracuse (ESPN / ESPN3.com)
7 p.m. No. 19 Cincinnati at Georgia (ESPNU)
8:30 p.m. No. 7 Vanderbilt at No. 9 Louisville (ESPN / ESPN3.com)
9 p.m. Auburn at Seton Hall (ESPNU)
Sat, Dec 3 3:15 p.m. Arkansas at No. 6 Connecticut (ESPN/ESPN3.com)
5:15 p.m. No. 17 Pittsburgh at Tennessee (ESPN/ESPN3.com)
7 p.m. LSU at Rutgers (ESPNU)
9 p.m. West Virginia at Mississippi State (ESPNU)
The new Challenge marks an expansion and modification of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational that included four matchups between the two conferences from two neutral sites from 2007-10. Over the four years of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational, the conferences - which each won eight games over the four years - split the series in 2008 and 2009 and each won one (SEC in 2010 and BIG EAST in 2007).