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SEC Basketball Replacing Big 12 Challenge With ACC Challenge

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

The SEC and ACC announced a basketball partnership that will begin in the 2023-24 season. The ACC/SEC Challenge will take place both in men’s and women’s basketball and ESPN will broadcast the games.

“We are excited women’s and men’s basketball student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete with their colleagues from the ACC as we initiate a new Basketball Challenge experience,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “I appreciate the collaboration of Jim Phillips and the ACC members, along with our broadcast partner ESPN, to make possible the SEC/ACC Basketball Challenge which will provide our fans with exciting basketball early in the 2023-24 season.”

The new event puts an end to both the Big 12/SEC Challenge and the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Tennessee hosts No. 1 Texas in its final Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 28. The final Big 12/SEC Challenge will be the 10th one and the Vols have gone 4-3 in the event with all seven games happening during Rick Barnes’ tenure.

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The SEC has four more teams than the Big 12 so the four worst SEC teams from the year before in conference play do not play in the event. Facing off with the ACC will allow all teams from both conferences to compete in the event.

Barnes — a Hickory, North Carolina native who’s coached in both conferences — is all for the new event.

“Obviously growing up in this part of the country and understanding the history of the ACC and the Southeastern Conference, I think it’s great,” Barnes said Wednesday night. “The fact that it’s regional, I think it’s really good. I think it’s going to be good for both leagues. I think it’s going to be great for TV, fans, everybody. I’m excited that we’re at that point with it.”

Tennessee’s frequently faced ACC schools since Barnes became head coach. The Vols have played home-and-home series against Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest and have also played neutral site games against Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina and North Carolina State.

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