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Kentucky will play Texas in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge

SB Nation logo SB Nation 10/21/2020 Jamie Boggs
Shaka Smart wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a crowd © Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The matchups for the eighth annual edition of the SEC - Big 12 Challenge were announced today. The Kentucky Wildcats will host the Texas Longhorns on January 30th.

Kentucky is 4-3 in the event since its inception during the 2013-2014 season. That was not a great regular season for the Wildcats, and they dropped their inaugural game in the series to Baylor. They went on to defeat Texas, go 1-2 against Kansas, and win a thriller in overtime last season at Texas Tech.

After a slow start, John Calipari has led his team to three straight victories in the challenge. If Olivier Sarr is eligible, it would be difficult to favor any Big 12 team over the Wildcats in Rupp arena. But Texas certainly has what it takes to pull off the upset.

This will the first time new Kentucky assistant coach Jai Lucas faces his former team. Lucas came to Lexington this offseason to be Kentucky’s special assistant to the head coach/recruiting coordinator after seven seasons in Austin.

Texas was 19-12 last season and 9-9 in Big 12 play. The Longhorns are as experienced as any team in the country. They return all 14 of their players who appeared in a game in 2019-20 and add to the roster a top-10 recruit in forward Greg Brown III. Included in the returners are leading scorer Matt Coleman III, who averaged 12.7 points per game and the team’s leading rebounder at 8.2 boards per game in Jericho Simms. Coleman has started in 101 of his 102 career games played and was an All-Big 12 Third Team selection a season ago.

The game will take place the final weekend of January, before Kentucky gets into the heart of conference play. That is often the time when Coach Cal has his guys starting to find their footing, so hopefully this will be a great stage to display what Kentucky may look like heading into March.

The SEC’s record sits at 30-40 in the series, so it would be great for Kentucky and the other SEC participants to make a good showing this year.

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