Tennessee will hit the road to take on Iowa State in the 2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge, a matchup announced Thursday by the league offices. The Vols make their first-ever trip to Ames on Jan. 27, 2018.
Tip times and specific TV network designations for all Big 12/SEC Challenge games will be announced at a later date. All 10 games of the Challenge will be televised across the ESPN family of networks with four games to appear on ESPN, four on ESPN2 and two on ESPNU. ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm — the Saturday roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season — will originate from one of the games.
“The Big 12/SEC Challenge is a unique opportunity to showcase our basketball programs,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said. “Playing the event on a single‐date in January puts our programs in the college basketball spotlight.”
Tennessee is participating in the Big 12/SEC Challenge for the fourth time in the event’s five seasons. The Vols are 2-1 in the Challenge, owning a pair of home victories over Kansas State (2014, 2017) and a road loss at the hands of TCU (2016).
UT’s all-time record against current members of the Big 12 stands at 12-17. In January, the Vols and Cyclones will be meeting on the hardwood for just the third time, with the series record standing at 1-1. The two programs last met on Dec. 3, 1977 — an 81-76 Tennessee win at the Fiesta Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
Third-year head coach Rick Barnes — who spent 17 seasons in the Big 12 before transitioning to Knoxville prior to the 2014-15 season — owns a 158-94 record against current Big 12 teams. He is 15-9 all-time against Iowa State.
Iowa State posted a 24-11 record last season, its second under head coach Steve Prohm. The Cyclones climbed as high as 16th in the AP Poll, earning that season-best ranking following a victory over No. 11 West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament Championship game. That win gave ISU its third Big 12 Tournament championship in the last four seasons.
Advancing to its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament, fifth-seeded Iowa State defeated Nevada in its opening game before being eliminated by 15th-ranked and fourth-seeded Purdue, 80-76, in the second round.
The Cyclones posted a 12-3 home record last season, pushing their all-time record at Hilton Coliseum to 534-172 (.756). Over the last seven seasons, ISU is 88-10 at home.
Iowa State loses seven seniors from last season’s team, a group that accounted for nearly 82 percent of its scoring. Among the departed is All-American guard Monte Morris, who led the team in scoring at 16.4 ppg.
Rising sophomore forward Solomon Young (4.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg) is the Cyclones’ only returning starter and rising senior guard Donovan Jackson (6.4 ppg) will be the team’s top returning scorer. Still, the ISU roster will be bolstered by the arrival off three 4-star prospects in guards Lindell Wigginton, Terrence Lewis and Darius McNeill. That trio headlines a Cyclone recruiting class that was ranked 18th by ESPN.
Other matchups for next season’s Big 12/SEC Challenge are: Oklahoma at Alabama, Georgia at Kansas State, Baylor at Florida, Texas Tech at South Carolina, TCU at Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State at Arkansas, Kentucky at West Virginia, Ole Miss at Texas and Texas A&M at Kansas.
The four SEC teams not participating in the Challenge are Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State and Missouri.
TENNESSEE’S BIG 12/SEC CHALLENGE HISTORY
2013 – Tennessee was one of four SEC teams that were inactive in the 2013 Challenge
Dec. 6, 2014 – Tennessee defeated Kansas State, 65-64
Jan. 30, 2016 – Tennessee lost at TCU, 75-63
Jan. 28, 2017 – Tennessee defeated Kansas State, 70-58
Jan. 27, 2018 – Tennessee at Iowa State
2018 BIG 12/SEC CHALLENGE MATCHUPS SET
Birmingham, Ala. – The fifth annual Big 12/SEC Challenge will feature 10 games played on January 27, 2018, in a matchup of two premier college basketball conferences.
All 10 of the Big 12’s teams and 10 of the SEC’s 14 member institutions will participate in this year’s event. Each of the 10 SEC teams that participate in the 2018 Challenge will be a part of the 2019 event.
Eleven participating teams earned NCAA Tournament berths in 2017 with six of the teams advancing to at least the Sweet 16 of the tournament. Additionally, 24 of the ESPN.com Top 100 recruits have signed with SEC schools and nine schools have top 40 recruiting classes.
This will be the third year that a bye in the league schedule for participating teams was created to accommodate the single-day format. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day. The first two years of the challenge were played over several days in November and December but the 2018 event will be consolidated to one single day in January.
Four of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN, four on ESPN2 and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will also be available on the ESPN app. ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the Saturday roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season – will originate from one of the Challenge games.
“The Big 12/SEC Challenge is a unique opportunity to showcase our basketball programs. Playing the event on a single-date in January puts our programs in the college basketball spotlight,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.
Start times and network designations will be announced at a later date.
2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge (January 27, 2018)
Oklahoma at Alabama
Georgia at Kansas State
Baylor at Florida
Texas Tech at South Carolina
TCU at Vanderbilt
Oklahoma State at Arkansas
Kentucky at West Virginia
Ole Miss at Texas
Tennessee at Iowa State
Texas A&M at Kansas