The SEC basketball schedule will be weird (but feature Kentucky-Florida twice)

The additions of Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC ensured the league would have to change the way it schedules its basketball games because, any way you slice it, a 14-school league is more difficult to manage than a 12-school league.

Blame football and television money for this problem.

And Dwight Howard, if you want.

Either way, what the SEC coaches decided was going to be one of the notable storylines coming out of this week's SEC meetings, and what they decided Wednesday is that they'll likely play one "permanent" rival twice a year (two games), four other schools twice a year (eight games) and eight other schools once a year (eight games) to complete the 18-game schedule. The format still has to be approved by the league's athletic directors. But why would the ADs go against what their coaches seem mostly settled on?

Anyway ...

Here are the proposed "permanant" rivals:
  • Kentucky vs. Florida
  • Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt
  • Georgia vs. South Carolina
  • Alabama vs. Auburn
  • Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
  • Arkansas vs. Missouri
  • LSU vs. Texas A&M
I honestly don't know what to make of this format because it seems confusing and certain to create an undeserving champion someday based on nothing more than the wildly unbalanced approach, but it's nice to see Kentucky and Florida as "permanent" rivals. Those are the SEC's most consistent programs. Both are led by national championship coaches. So, if nothing else, kudos to the SEC for ensuring we get at least two UK-UF games per season because anything less would've been silly.
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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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