Which SEC/Big 12 Challenge games are the best to watch?
The last major non-conference event of the season hits this week as the SEC/Big 12 Challenge arrives on Saturday. With potential top seeds in the mix as well as teams fighting for their tournament lives there will be plenty of drama throughout the day.
The challenge for the diehard college basketball fan is that there are only so many hours in the day and 10 games to choose from, so which should you prioritize? Check out our watchability ratings to find out.
SEC/Big 12 Challenge watchability ratings
10. Texas A&M at Kansas State – 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU
Neither team is going anywhere near the NCAA Tournament. This game is easily skippable unless you happen to be an alumnus of either school.
9. Iowa State at Mississippi State – 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2
The Cyclones are the Big 12’s worst team but at least Mississippi State has a shot to make a run at the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs have a win over Missouri on their resume so this game is one they can’t afford to lose.
8. Arkansas at Oklahoma State – 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Both teams are good but the potential absence of Cade Cunningham diminishes the matchup’s luster a bit. If Cunningham is able to play on Saturday this game would probably be about two spots higher than it is now.
7. TCU at No. 12 Missouri – 2:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU
This is a case where the leagues got unlucky that Missouri, one of the SEC’s best teams, didn’t draw a more noteworthy opponent. TCU had three straight games postponed due to COVID issues and got hammered in the three prior to that so the Horned Frogs are trending in the wrong direction.
6. Auburn at No. 2 Baylor – 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
The Bears have a great chance to win the national championship and are worth watching but this matchup has taken a hit with Auburn’s underachieving season. The Tigers have pretty much gone in the tank since a self-imposed postseason ban and could get run out of the gym very quickly by a deep Baylor roster.
5. Florida at No. 11 West Virginia – 2:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
The matchups start getting better here as a dangerous bubble team in Florida hits the road seeking a marquee win against West Virginia. The Gators have proven to be dangerous even without Keyontae Johnson while the Mountaineers are coming off a nifty one-point win over Texas Tech.
4. No. 10 Texas Tech at LSU – 2:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2
This game has a similar dynamic as the Florida-West Virginia matchup with the notable difference that the more desperate team is at home. LSU’s Cameron Thomas has been one of the nation’s most dynamic freshmen and will look to help his team score a major victory over a top-10 foe in the deep Red Raiders.
3. No. 9 Alabama at No. 24 Oklahoma – 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
One of two games pairing ranked teams in the event, SEC-leading Alabama will get a stiff road test against an Oklahoma team coming off of consecutive victories against top-10 opponents in Kansas and Texas. The Crimson Tide have won 10 straight games as they look to prove they are a true threat for a top seed in March Madness.
1. No. 15 Kansas at No. 18 Tennessee – 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
These two teams were among their league’s favorites at the start of the season but have fallen behind due to some tough losses of late. The winner here should get themselves back into the mix for a top-2 seed while the loser continues tumbling down the bracketology reports as we hit the month of February.
For more NCAA basketball news, analysis, opinion and features, check out more from the FanSided college basketball section to stay on top of the latest action.