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Big East/SEC Challenge ensures ESPN owns week of great hoops


It took five years, but the Big East/SEC Invitational Challenge finally scheduled enough games to rival the ACC/Big Ten Challenge for the premier non-conference college hoops event.

The conferences will play 12 games over three days starting on Dec. 1, all on various ESPN channels, making it a delightful week for hoopheads given the participants. (The network also broadcasts the ACC/Big Ten event.)

I figure eight of the schools – Kentucky, Syracuse, UConn, Vandy, Louisville, Cincinnati, Pitt and Florida – will be ranked in early Dec. Alabama also might be in the mix. That’ll means at least two showdowns between ranked teams and five other solid games. Heck, make it six given the intrigue surrounding the West Virginia-Mississippi State matchup. Here’s the full lineup.

Thursday, Dec. 1 Georgetown at Alabama Providence at South Carolina St. John’s at Kentucky Ole Miss at DePaul

Friday, Dec. 2 Auburn at Seton Hall Florida at Syracuse Cincinnati at Georgia Vanderbilt at Louisville

Saturday, Dec. 3 Arkansas at Connecticut West Virginia at Mississippi State LSU at Rutgers Pittsburgh at Tennessee

Missing from the schedule are Big East schools Marquette, Notre Dame, South Florida and Villanova. Would’ve been nice to swap in Marquette and ‘Nova in place of DePaul and Providence, but hey, you can’t watch every game. This way it’s easier to ignore the “meh” matchups.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.