Next year’s edition of the challenge between SEC and Big 12 basketball will move into the heart of conference play.
Both conference announced on Thursday that the Big 12/SEC Challenge would be moving to Saturday, January 30th, in 2016. The plan is to have the annual event take place in late January or early February.
Here’s a statement on the move by Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby (via Big 12 Sports):
"“We are excited to move this event to January to provide the Big 12 a unique showcase and help ESPN give the Big 12/SEC Challenge the attention it deserves. Our teams have shown a commitment to scheduling tough non-conference opponents and should be commended for setting a new standard by placing a key non-league matchup in the middle of the conference season.”"
Games and tipoff times will be announced at a later date. All 10 games will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU. The remaining four SEC schools that aren’t selected for the challenge will play in regular conference games.
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Next year will mark the third edition of the challenge. The Big 12/SEC Challenge became more of a legit event in its second year as all the games took place between December 3rd and 6th. In the inaugural season, games were scattered throughout November and December.
Moving the event inside conference play is interesting. It’s a unique situation that ESPN will market a lot, but Big 12 play doesn’t need any sprucing up. With no disrespect to the other SEC schools, Iowa State fans will shrug their shoulders to the opponent unless it’s a big name like Kentucky, Florida, or Tennessee.
Nonconference games should take place in November and December, hence their obvious title. Moving a game like this to the conference slate will further increase a boring November and December for most Big 12 teams.
What are your thoughts on the challenge moving to late January/early February?