Networks & Times Set for Third Annual Big 12/SEC Challenge

John Calipari

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to air every game of the third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge Presented by Sonic – staged for the first time on a common bye date of Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, during the conference schedule. The field is headlined by four preseason top-10 teams – No. 3 Kentucky, No. 5 Kansas, No. 7 Iowa State and No. 8 Oklahoma – and matches all 10 of the Big 12 members against 10 teams from the Southeastern Conference.

Eight of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 and two games will air on ESPNU with each conference hosting five games.

ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the Saturday morning and evening roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season – will originate from one of the Challenge games, to be announced at a later date.

In addition to No. 3 Kentucky, No. 5 Kansas, No. 7 Iowa State and No. 8 Oklahoma, the field includes nine total teams ranked in the’s revised too-early top 25. No. 17 Baylor; No. 18 Vanderbilt, No. 20 West Virginia; No. 22 LSU and No. 25 Texas A&M.

Additional Challenge highlights:

  • Three potential top-25 matchups include No. 3 Kentucky at No. 5 Kansas, No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 22 LSU and No. 7 Iowa State at No. 25 Texas A&M.
  • Georgia is a first-time participant in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, while Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M are appearing for the second time.
  • Twelve teams competed in the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship: Final Four participant Kentucky; Sweet 16 teams Oklahoma and West Virginia; as well as Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Iowa State, Kansas, LSU, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss and Texas.
  • The Challenge field has 27 players ranked in the 2015 ESPN Recruiting Nation 100, including five in the top 15: No. 1 Ben Simmons (PF, LSU); No. 2 Skal Labissiere (C, Kentucky); No. 7 Cheick Diallo (PF, Kansas); No. 13 Isaiah Briscoe (PF, Kentucky) and No. 15 Antonio Blakeney (SG, LSU).
  • Kentucky fields the No. 2-ranked incoming class, LSU stands at No. 3, Texas A&M is No. 6, Kansas is No. 7, Texas is No. 15, Florida is No. 17 and Auburn is No. 28 in the 2015 ESPN Recruiting Nation Class Rankings.


All 10 games will also be available via WatchESPN, accessible online at, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.


The 2014 Challenge, which saw the Big 12 winning six of the matchups, was held from December 3 to December 6. The inaugural event in 2013, won by the Big 12 with seven victories, was played across various dates in November and December.


2016 SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic schedule (schedule subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Jan 30 Noon No. 18 Vanderbilt at Texas ESPN or ESPN2
  No. 20 West Virginia at Florida ESPN or ESPN2
  2 p.m. Tennessee at TCU ESPN2
  Ole Miss at Kansas State ESPNU
  4 p.m. Texas Tech at Arkansas ESPNU
  6 p.m. Georgia at No. 17 Baylor ESPN2
  8 p.m. Oklahoma State at Auburn ESPN2
  No earlier than 2 p.m.; No later than 7 p.m. No. 3 Kentucky at No. 5 Kansas ESPN
No earlier than 2 p.m.; No later than 7 p.m. No. 7 Iowa State at No. 25 Texas A&M ESPN
  No earlier than 2 p.m.; No later than 7 p.m. No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 22 LSU ESPN


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