Huskies will Host Arkansas on Dec. 3
The pairings for the BIG EAST/SEC Challenge have been announced and defending National Champion UConn will host Arkansas on Saturday, December 3, 2011. The time and location are to be determined. The two teams will play at either Gampel Pavilion in Storrs or the XL Center in Hartford.
“We are excited to be a part of what should be a great event. It is a competition that will be beneficial for the BIG EAST and for UConn and we think our game with Arkansas will be highly competitive and exciting for college basketball fans,” said Head Coach Jim Calhoun.
The BIG EAST/SEC Challenge will begin its fifth year pitting two of the premier conferences in the NCAA. Both conferences have won eight games in 16 contests. Connecticut owns a 0-1 record, falling to Kentucky, 64-61, at Madison Square Garden on December 9, 2009.
The two conferences have agreed to change the format in 2011 and 2012. For the first time, all-12 teams in the SEC will compete compared to the four-game format in the past. Also a first in the BIG EAST/SEC Challenge, all games will be played on campus sites.
Since 1999, the SEC (five) and the BIG EAST (eight) have combined for 13 Final Four appearances and six national titles: Connecticut (1999, 2004 and 2011), Florida (2006 and 2007) and Syracuse (2003).
The BIG EAST/SEC 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 SEC).
UConn is coming off its third National Championship, defeating Butler in the National Championship, 53-41. The Huskies lost consensus First-Team All-American Kemba Walker to the NBA but return 2011 BIG EAST All-Rookie selections Jeremy Lamb (Norcross, Ga.) and Shabazz Napier (Randolph, Mass.) along with current sophomore Alex Oriakhi (Lowell, Mass.) and freshman Roscoe Smith (Baltimore, Md.).
Arkansas finished 2010-11 with an 18-13 overall record, including a 7-9 mark in the South Eastern Conference. Arkansas lost to Tennessee in the first round of the SEC Tournament, 74-68.
ESPN will provide exclusive coverage of all 12 games across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.
Thursday, December 1st
St. John’s @ Kentucky
Providence @ South Carolina
Georgetown @ Alabama
Mississippi @ DePaul
Friday, December 2nd
Cincinnati @ Georgia
Florida @ Syracuse
Auburn @ Seton Hall
Vanderbilt @ Louisville
Saturday, December 3rd
Arkansas @ Connecticut (site TBD)
LSU @ Rutgers
Pittsburgh @ Tennessee
Labels: Jim Calhoun