In Challenge’s Sixth Year SEC Looks to Narrow Lead Held by Big East
This year, Arkansas will play in the Southeastern Conference-Big East Challenge for the third time in challenge history, taking on Syracuse in Bud Walton Arena on Friday, Nov. 30.
Started in 2007, the SEC-Big East Challenge has featured four teams from each conference in a basketball matchup before conference play begins. Twelve teams became featured beginning in 2011. Arkansas has appeared each year in the challenge since 2010.
In 2010, ESPN announced that the challenge would begin the Thursday after Thanksgiving and each conference would host six of the games at on-campus sites.
Overall in the series, the SEC is 12-16.
Arkansas played its first SEC-Big East Challenge game against the Seton Hall Pirates in Louisville, Ky., in 2010 and won 71-62 under head coach John Pelphrey in his final season.
Rickey Scott led the team in assists with four and steals with two.
The SEC lead that year of the challenge when Kentucky and Tennessee also pulled out wins against Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, respectively.
The next season, Arkansas faced then-No. 10 Connecticut in front of a crowd of 14,333 in the ninth game of the challenge.
Arkansas led the game for the first seven minutes, getting off to a good start. The Razorbacks did not win, but held their own, with a final score of 75-62. B.J. Young led Arkansas in scoring with 28 points, five rebounds and a steal.
Unranked Georgetown earned an upset over then-No. 12 Alabama, 57-55. The only SEC wins in the challenge in 2011 came from Kentucky, Ole Miss, LSU and Mississippi State.
The Big East took the series that year, earning eight wins to the SEC’s four.
In the 2012 SEC-Big East Challenge, newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri will sit out for the SEC, and Louisville, Connecticut and Pittsburgh will not be participating for the Big East.
Representing the SEC is No. 3 Kentucky, South Carolina, No. 12 Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Mississippi.
The tournament will begin Thursday at 7 p.m. with No. 3 Kentucky at No. 19 Notre Dame.
All 12 games this week will be televised by ESPN.