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SEC/Big East Challenge tilts revealed, as is proof of a Kentucky road game

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
You can get a good idea of how voracious we bloggers, writers and fans are for college hoops news -- of any kind; you might have noticed the blog has lost a step this week -- when we react to a certain kind of story.

More on SEC-Big East Challenge
For instance, when set-in-stone, made-for-TV matchups are released, as happened Friday, as ESPN unveiled the tilts for the fourth annual SEC/Big East Challenge, we all flock to our keyboards to relay the news. Let's see and react, because it's actual news!

Well, it's something. I'm thankful for the end-of-week gift, but ... ehhhh. These are all right, but I'm not exactly over or underwhelmed here. Call me "whelmed." The Big East will again be a good-not-great league (how far away does 2009 seem?), and the SEC won't be as good/top-heavy as 2011-12, when five teams at one point seemed good enough to make the Sweet 16.

Come the end of November, this is what we're working with. Commentary on select games below.

2012 Matchups
DateGame
Nov. 27South Carolina at St. John's
Seton Hall at LSU
Kentucky at Notre Dame
Marquette at Florida
Nov. 30Georgia at South Florida
DePaul at Auburn
Tennessee at Georgetown
Syracuse at Arkansas
Dec. 1Mississippi State at Providence
Rutgers at Mississippi
Alabama at Cincinnati
Villanova at Vanderbilt

If you want a history of the SEC/Big East Challenge, with stats, etc., click here. Good resource.

So, some sweeping takes on some of the games, because there is no way I'm ranking this thing from 1 to 12:
  • We get Kentucky playing not only a road game, but a road game in the state of Indiana. Ooh, irony, you taste quite syrupy. That will actually be a pretty good game. Kentucky, obviously, will be young again. I'm forecasting Notre Dame as a top-20 team by the end of November. Good scheduling coup here for the Irish.
  • Marquette at Florida is, yes, a rematch of a Sweet 16 game from the 2012 tournament. Florida won, 78-68. Just a quality non-con game between two eventual tournament teams. Thursday will be the best day for the Challenge.
  • There is no more random-looking game on this list than Syracuse playing at Arkansas. It will look like Peyton Manning in a Broncos uniform -- we'll never get used to it. The Hogs will be improved from last year, but Syracuse should get out of Fayetteville with a W.
  • Tennessee-Georgetown looks good on paper. I'll watch. Both teams will probably hover around an eight or nine seed next season.
  • DePaul at Auburn I believe is what will be recorded and put on a loop for descendents into the fourth circle of hell.
  • Georgia-South Florida is the sneaky game in that it will probably be really close. Don't think it will be pretty or feature two 2013 tournament teams, but it will be close.
  • I see Villanova-Vanderbilt as a game that looks nice here, but in reality the Commodores won't be nearly the team it was last year, and Villanova still making a climb back to being a top-25 team, which won't be the case next season.
  • As for Rutgers at Ole Miss and Seton Hall at LSU, I think this is how we all feel:

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