The SEC-Big 12 Challenge is here, so how many games will the conference win this year? Let's go through the games as we go through the schedule to count them up.
West Virginia at Florida, noon ET, ESPN
This is the KenPom No. 6 team visiting No. 26. Don't expect many points, as the Gators have the fourth best defensive efficiency while the Mountaineers are tops in that category. Florida had a near-miss against Texas A&M and its fifth rated defense in College Station, so if its offense can show up, UF does have a chance.
The Gators are 9-1 at home this year and could really use a signature win to bolster its tournament status. I'm calling for an upset and going with Florida.
Vanderbilt at Texas, noon ET, ESPN2
This is the KenPom No. 31 team visiting No. 36. The Longhorns are more balanced than the defense-heavy Commodores. Vandy hasn't lived up to billing so far, and losing to Texas would fit in with the team's 1-5 road record (with the lone win coming against Tennessee). I'm going to guess VU's road struggles continue and take Texas.
Ole Miss at Kansas State, 2 p.m. ET, ESPNU
This is the KenPom No. 106 team visiting the No. 39 team. It would've been nice to have to have Sebastian Saiz to go against the Wildcats' frontcourt combo of Wesley Iwundu and Dean Wade, but alas. Save a loss to Texas, all of K-State's losses this year have come to teams currently in the top 25 rankings. Stefan Moody will make the 'Cats work for it, but in a home game, Kansas State is my pick.
Tennessee at TCU, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2
This is the KenPom No. 92 team visiting the No. 152 team. This is a movable object vs. stoppable force game, with the Vols' defense bearing the No. 147 rating and the Frogs' offense rated just 266. UT showed itself capable of losing on the road to a team in TCU's neighborhood when it lost at Auburn, but I'm going to guess that was an aberration. Give me Kevin Punter and Tennessee.
Iowa State at Texas A&M, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
This is the KenPom No. 12 team visiting the No. 9 team. If you're of the belief that losing a game can be a good thing to refocus a potentially overconfident team, then maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that the Aggies lost to Arkansas this week. Iowa State and its No. 6 offense will present a huge challenge to A&M and its fifth rated defense. In today's college basketball though, defense usually trumps offense. Combine that with the home court advantage, and I'll take Texas A&M to win today's best matchup in a classic.
Texas Tech at Arkansas, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU
This is the KenPom No. 51 team visiting the No. 57 team. Speaking of that Razorback win over the Aggies, now would be a bad time for Arkansas to have a hangover after picking up that big win. I don't anticipate the Hogs to fall off too far from that level, but it's a possibility. TTU comes in having lost six of seven, but those losses all came to the top of the Big 12. I'm tentatively picking Texas Tech.
Oklahoma at LSU, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
This is the KenPom No. 1 team visiting the No. 63 team. This game has the most star power with Ben Simmons and Buddy Hield, and the Tigers desperately need a win here to shore up their flagging Big Dance chances. LSU does sport an impressive 11-1 home record, including a win over Kentucky. But still: do you trust Johnny Jones to beat the nation's best team? I'm thinking that Oklahoma will take this game.
Georgia at Baylor, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2
This is the KenPom No. 78 team visiting the No. 25 team. Because the Big 12 is so good and so deep, some middle of the pack SEC team had to get stuck with playing one of the top Big 12 squads. OU-LSU is a bigger mismatch in the KenPom ratings, but the gap is that big because the Tigers haven't lived up to their potential. Baylor will win this one, but you can't blame Georgia much.
Kentucky at Kansas, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
This is the KenPom No. 22 team visiting the No. 15 team. All eyes will be on this one as two of the blue blood programs meet in one of the classic college basketball venues. UK has really come alive of late, while KU has shown some cracks with losses in two of three (including to Oklahoma State, which isn't in the Big 12's top tier). Maybe this is a foolish momentum play, but I will take Kentucky to win on the road and cement its recent jump in level of play.
Oklahoma State at Auburn, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
This is the KenPom No. 68 team visiting the No. 168 team. This is a game between two random number generators. The Cowboys managed to knock off Kansas and lost to Florida by only two, but they also have a pair of ghastly losses to George Mason and Missouri State, respectively. Auburn has losses to No. 177 Harvard and No. 182 Missouri, but it also beat Kentucky. It's notable that AU has won three of four home games in conference play, while OSU has yet to win a road game. Even so, I'll trust the giant gap in the ratings and pick Oklahoma State. Don't just assume an Auburn loss, though.
Overall: I've got the SEC going 4-6 overall, with Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Kentucky winning. That's respectable, but it's not anything that's going to boost the conference's image.
Because of the gap in team numbers between these conferences, there are a pair of SEC games going on too.
Alabama at South Carolina, 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network
It's a missed opportunity not having the Gamecocks in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, as the Gamecocks' non-conference schedule lacked substance. Anyway, this is an opportunity for Carolina to avenge its first loss of the season, a 73-50 drubbing in Tuscaloosa.
Mississippi State vs. Missouri, 8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
This is a battle to see who will be able to break the tie for last place in the league.