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Kentucky at Kansas headlines unique setup for Big 12/SEC Challenge

Champions Classic: Kansas v. Kentucky

Champions Classic: Kansas v. Kentucky

TNS via Getty Images

On Thursday, the matchups for the most latest installment of the Big 12/SEC Challenge were announced, and the structure of the event will be different than any we’ve seen before.

All ten games of the challenge will be played on the same day: Saturday, January 30th, which is something that we haven’t seen before. The event will also coincide with College Gameday, which will take place at the site of one of the games -- and, as we’ll get to, that’s an easy prediction to make.

Anyway, here are the ten matchups:

  • Kentucky at Kansas
  • Iowa State at Texas A&M
  • Oklahoma at LSU
  • Vanderbilt at Texas
  • Georgia at Baylor
  • West Virginia at Florida
  • Mississippi at Kansas State
  • Tennessee at TCU
  • Oklahoma State at Auburn
  • Texas Tech at Arkansas

First things first: Kentucky at Kansas!!!

With all due respect to Maryland and North Carolina, it really won’t get better than this, when it comes to non-conference basketball. We’ve seen Kansas and Kentucky square off plenty of times in recent years -- namely, the 2012 national title game, which was a coaching rematch of the 2008 national title game -- but never once in an on-campus venue. And when it comes to on-campus venues, the only one in the same league as Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

It helps that both the Jayhawks and the Wildcats are preseason top five teams as well.

But that’s not it. Iowa State, a preseason top five team, will pay a visit to Texas A&M, who is a sleeper to give Kentucky a fight atop the SEC. Oklahoma will pay a visit to LSU and their vaunted recruiting class. Underrated Vanderbilt will play Shaka Smart and Texas on national television. Even Georgia vs. Baylor is a matchup of NCAA tournament teams.

The only whiff?

Tennessee at Texas would have pit Rick Barnes against his old school.

Can’t win them all, I guess.