KU basketball to face Tennessee in Big 12/SEC Challenge

Kansas guard Devon Dotson drives to the basket between Tennessee's Jordan Bone (0) and Grant Williams (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in New York. Kansas defeated Tennessee 87-81 in overtime. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

It won’t be a battle of blue bloods after all.

Pairings for the 2020 Big 12/SEC Challenge were announced Thursday morning, and the Kansas men’s basketball team will play host to Tennessee this season in the seventh annual event. It will be a rematch of last year’s Preseason NIT championship game, which KU won by an 87-81 margin in overtime.

Last season, Kansas finished third in the Big 12 before being eliminated by Auburn in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Tennessee was bounced by Purdue in the Sweet 16, finishing with a 31-6 overall record last year under Rick Barnes.

Early prognosticators indicate that these two teams have different expectations for the upcoming season, however. Bart Torvik projects Kansas as the third-best team in the nation, trailing only Michigan State and Florida. Tennessee comes in at No. 84 in the early projections, as the team returns just 40.6% percent of its minutes from last year.

Kentucky, meanwhile, will travel to Texas Tech for the latest Big 12/SEC Challenge. KU and Kentucky had squared off in this event in three of the previous four years, with the lone exception being when the two teams faced each other in the Champions Classic during the 2017-18 season.

The Red Raiders, who fell in last year’s national championship game after sharing a Big 12 regular-season title with Kansas State, are currently the No. 9 team in the nation on Torvik. The Wildcats are listed at No. 13, and return 36.8% of their minutes from last year’s team that fell to Auburn in the Elite Eight.

This will mark the fifth consecutive year that all games will be played on one day, as it will take place on Saturday, Jan. 25. Big 12 teams are 35-25 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge after posting a 6-4 clip in 2019. In fact, the Big 12 is 4-1-1 against the SEC in this annual event.

Big 12/SEC Challenge (January 25, 2020):

Kansas State at Alabama

TCU at Arkansas

Iowa State at Auburn

Baylor at Florida

Kentucky at Texas Tech

LSU at Texas

Mississippi State at Oklahoma

Missouri at West Virginia

Tennessee at Kansas

Oklahoma State at Texas A&M;

Comments

Craig Carson

This game has nowhere near the flair of lady years matchup...KU should route them...those UK/TXTECH and Baylor vs Florida games should be good

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

I don't see any other team, not including UK that looks much better. UK v KU should be in this tournament yearly. Let the rest go to the best possible match-ups.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Jay Scott

Somehow it seems incongruent that "flair" wasn't spelled f l a r e.

Sadly your spelling and grammar are better than your logic.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Poor Barnes. 3rd best coach in the history of the BIG12 and about to be beaten by one of the top 2 again.

I'm not surprised Barnes success at Tenn. My only knock (on Barnes) is often having the top talent in the league and not going further. Sounds a little similar but Roy WAS a better coach after taking the title. Duke's boosters did there best to get rid of Coach K.

Now he's in a similar position in the SEC (behind Kentucky) and needs a title to make his career. I wish him sincerely that he wins a title as long as we didn't help them in any way.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dee Shaw

I was hoping for a rematch with Auburn and get some revenge.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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David Wanamaker

I think a rematch with Auburn probably would have had more marquis value as well. I'm not necessarily disappointed that it's Tennessee, though. I will say, however, when Tennessee constitutes the marquee opponent on your entire non-con slate, you know your non-con slate is act of robbery on the part of the athletic department; as in they are stealing money from fans by bringing in mostly teams that are just in it for the payday. This might be the worst non-con home schedule in the last 50 years. It's just pathetic.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

Don't care for this match up. Tennessee might have a good team now but in the big picture there are no bragging rights for beating them. Either Kentucky or Florida/LSU or find another conference to challenge. I'd rather play mizoo.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dave Miller

Muck Fizzou. They picked up their marbles and ran away crying. They can wallow in the abyss they made for themselves.

4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Marius Rowlanski

Not Missou. My ulcers are almost healed.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

well, this will give us incentive to win the b-12 again and then we will get Kentucky next year.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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