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Aug. 10, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – ESPN has finalized the network and time assignments for the inaugural BIG EAST/SEC Challenge for men’s basketball. It was announced that South Carolina will host Providence on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. with the game televised on ESPNU.

The Gamecocks and Friars have met seven previous times, with Providence holding a 4-3 edge in the series. Every game of the series has been played in the month of December. South Carolina won the most recent matchup between the two schools, a 68-67 road win on Dec. 6, 2007. South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn has never faced the Friars during his eight seasons as a head coach.

All 12 games of the Challenge will be played at home sites with each conference hosting six games a year. SEC teams will alternate home and away games. Twelve of the 16 BIG EAST teams (17 teams in the second year) will participate each year. The event title will alternate to the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge in 2012 and be played Thursday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 1.

The new Challenge marks an expansion and modification of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational that featured four matchups between the two conferences from two neutral sites from 2007-10. Over the four years of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational, the conferences – which each won eight games over the four years – split the series in 2008 and 2009 and each won one (SEC in 2010 and BIG EAST in 2007).

BIG EAST/SEC Challenge Schedule
Thurs., Dec. 1
Providence at South Carolina, 7 pm, ESPNU
St. John’s at Kentucky, 7:30 pm, ESPN2/
Mississippi at DePaul, 9 pm, ESPNU
Georgetown at Alabama, 9:30 pm, ESPN2/

Fri., Dec. 2
Florida at Syracuse, 6:30 pm, ESPN/
Cincinnati at Georgia, 7 pm, ESPNU
Vanderbilt at Louisville, 8:30 pm, ESPN/
Auburn at Seton Hall, 9 pm, ESPNU

Sat., Dec 3
Arkansas at Connecticut, 3:15 pm, ESPN/
Pittsburgh at Tennessee, 5:15 pm, ESPN/
LSU at Rutgers, 7 pm, ESPNU
West Virginia at Mississippi State, 9 pm, ESPNU