Starting in 2011, the BIG EAST/SEC Challenge will be expanding to 12 games, starting the Thursday after Thanksgiving. From the creation of this fixture, only 4 games were held.
Here are some thoughts from ESPN, the BIG EAST, and the SEC on the announcement.
"We are thrilled to continue to showcase two of the best college basketball conferences through a new BIG EAST/SEC Challenge," said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, college sports programming. "We applaud the conferences and their schools on their enthusiasm for the series and know fans will look forward to a true test of conference superiority each year beginning in 2011.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, "The Southeastern Conference is pleased to provide this expanded opportunity for all 12 of our member institutions to participate in the SEC/Big East Challenge each year. The ability to showcase SEC basketball on the various ESPN platforms in this type of conference competition makes this a magnificent and fun event for our coaches, student-athletes and fans."
BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto added, "The past four years of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational have provided both of our respective fan bases with high quality and exciting matchups prior to the start of our conference regular seasons. We are now pleased to expand the format to offer even more competition, and bring these games to campus sites. Add to the equation the exposure that ESPN provides and you have a truly wonderful event."
Finally, a real event that can rival the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Since 4 teams (and 5 when TCU joins) will be left out, I'm desperately hoping that Villanova isn't one of those so we can beef up our OOC schedule.