Kansas to Host Florida in SEC/Big 12 Challenge
IRVING, Texas – National powers and defending regular-season men’s basketball champions in each of their respective conferences, Kansas and Florida will square off in the second SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Dec. 5 in historic Allen Fieldhouse, the two leagues and ESPN announced Wednesday.
The Kansas-Florida contest is one of two in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge that will pit preseason-ranked teams in the early ESPN.com “Fab 50” ratings. Kansas is at No. 4, while Florida is No. 7 in the early poll. No. 6 Texas will play at No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 5 in the Challenge. Last season, the Big 12 won the Challenge by capturing wins in seven of the 10 meetings.
In last season’s inaugural Challenge, then-No. 19 Florida defeated then-No. 13 Kansas, 67-61, on Dec. 10 in Gainesville. The two teams would climb the national rankings for the remainder of the season with Florida at No. 1 the final four weeks of 2013-14 and Kansas as high as No. 5 on Feb. 24. Both teams won their regular-season conference championships and Florida won the SEC Tournament, as well. KU finished 25-10 and 14-4 in the 2013-14 season and entered the NCAA Tournament a No. 2 seed, while Florida went 36-3 overall, 18-0 in the SEC and was the overall No. 1 seed of the 2014 NCAA tourney.
Though there have only been five games in this series, the Kansas-Florida matchups have been highly touted. Kansas leads 3-2, with three of the five meetings being top-10 nationally-ranked contests. Four of the five meetings has seen at least one team ranked in the top 10.
In the first meeting, No. 5 Kansas defeated No. 6 Florida 69-63 in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 7, 1994. KU was ranked No. 3 when the Jayhawks defeated the Gators 69-64 on Jan. 11, 1996, in Gainesville. No. 7 Florida bested No. 2 Kansas in the third meeting 83-73 on Nov. 29, 2002, in the consolation finals of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden. Prior to last season’s meeting in Gainesville, No. 10 Kansas defeated top-ranked Florida 82-80 in overtime on Nov. 25, 2006, in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational. Florida went on to win its second-straight NCAA National Championship that season, while Kansas claimed the national title the following year in 2008.
2014 SEC / BIG 12 CHALLENGE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, December 3
Auburn at Texas Tech
Thursday, December 4
Arkansas at Iowa State
Baylor at Vanderbilt
LSU at West Virginia
TCU at Mississippi
Friday, December 5
Florida at KANSAS
Missouri at Oklahoma
Texas at Kentucky
Saturday, December 6
Kansas State at Tennessee
Oklahoma State at South Carolina
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