The Big 12 and SEC are playing each other in the Big 12/SEC Challenge this weekend. Some of the matchups include #3 Kansas playing their first game after the brawl, plus #15 Kentucky at #18 Texas Tech. The top-ranked team in the country, #1 Baylor, heads to Florida in hopes of fading the curse of the #1 ranking.
In the biggest matchup between ranked teams in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, #15 Kentucky heads to Lubbock, where #18 Texas Tech doesn’t lose many games on their home court.
Auburn (#16) started the season 15-0 before they lost consecutive games last week and plummeted from #4 to #16. They ended their mini-skid, and are trying to win two games in a row to find their way back into the Top 10.
Big 12/SEC Challenge
#1 Baylor at Florida
Tennessee at #3 Kansas
#15 Kentucky at #18 Texas Tech
Iowa State at #16 Auburn
TCU at Arkansas
Even though they’re not ranked, TCU and Arkansas have a big game that’s not just for conference bragging rights. Both teams are eyeing the Top 25.
There’s also a great game between two hardcore football schools, with LSU (14-4) at Texas (12-6). LSU came out on top when the two met during the regular season last fall, but the Tigers will have a tough road game when they head to Austin to play the Longhorns.
Baylor Seeking 16 in Row
#1 Baylor (16-1) at Florida (12-6)… Baylor has a 15-game winning streak on the line. They survived a close shave against Oklahoma this week. Baylor’s stifling defense allows only 58.5 points per game. The Bears are ranked #6 in the nation in points allowed. Florida has been inconsistent all year, but they pulled off two big wins at home against ranked teams. The Gators had an impressive 22-point win against #4 Auburn last weekend. They also beat Xavier, who were ranked #18 at the time.
Tennessee (12-6) at #3 Kansas (15-3)… At this point, you’ve seen the ugly brawl that transpired at the end of the Kansas/Kansas State game this week. Forward Silvio De Sousa is suspended indefinitely. Kansas would like to put that ugly night behind them, but all eyes will be on the Jayhawks in their first game since the melee. Tennessee is 2-1 against ranked teams this season, but both victories came against a team ranked #20 (VCU and Washington).
Game of the Series: UK/TT
#15 Kentucky (14-4) at #18 Texas Tech (12-6)… This battle is the only game in the Big 12/SEC series featuring two ranked teams. Both Kentucky and Texas Tech are seeking to move up in the next poll, and neither team can do that without a victory this weekend. Kentucky is trying to move back into the Top 10. Over the last four weeks, Tech fought to avoid losing a spot in the Top 25. The Red Raiders cracked the Top 20, but still have their eyes on laddering up. Tech is 9-1 in Lubbock this season, but they’ve dropped three out of their last five games, including consecutive losses to ranked teams (#4 Baylor and #17 West Virginia). Kentucky bounced back from a 3-point loss at South Carolina to win two in a row.
Don’t Overlook Auburn and Arkansas
Iowa State (9-9) at #16 Auburn (16-2)… Despite the hiccup last week, Bruce Pearl’s team is ready to start another winning streak. Auburn is a perfect 10-0 at home, while Iowa State is 0-4 on the road.
TCU (13-5) at Arkansas (14-4)… Arkansas started the season 8-0, but they hit rough waters with three losses in their last five games, including a 7-point loss against #10 Kentucky. Mason Jones, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, leads the Razorbacks with 18.3 points per game. He also hauls down 6.2 rebounds. Jones exploded for 41 points against Tulsa earlier this season, so he can erupt at any moment. TCU ended a two-game skid with a huge 11-point upset over #18 Texas Tech. TCU is led by Desmond Bane, a 6-foot-6 senior guard, who averages 17.2 points per game.