Basketball Plays at Seton Hall in 2011 SEC-Big East Challenge
May 19, 2011
AUBURN --Auburn basketball will play at Seton Hall in the 2011 Big East-SEC Challenge on Friday, Dec. 2, in the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., ESPN announced on Thursday. The 12-game SEC-Big East Challenge features 12 games with four per day from Dec. 1-3.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for continued national exposure for our program," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "Seton Hall will be a much improved team, and it will definitely be a challenge playing a Big East opponent on its home court.
"It will be a great opportunity for our large Auburn alumni base in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to come watch the Tigers play close to home."
This marks the first game in history between Auburn and Seton Hall.
Seton Hall finished 13-18 overall and 7-11 in the Big East Conference last season, and the Pirates defeated Alabama as well as four NCAA Tournament teams in Marquette, St. John's, St. Peter's and at Syracuse. Seton Hall went 8-7 at home last season, including a 4-5 mark in Big East play.
Jordan Theodore, a 6-foot rising senior guard, is Seton Hall's leading returning scorer averaging 11.0 points per game and 34.6 shooting from 3-point range a year ago. The Pirates lose their top two leading scorers in Jeremy Hazell and Jeff Robinson, who averaged 19.8 and 12.1 points, respectively.
The 2011 Challenge begins on Thursday, Dec. 1, with Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina playing host to Georgetown, St. John's and Providence, respectively, while Ole Miss travels to DePaul. On Friday night, Auburn will visit Seton Hall, Florida travels to Syracuse and Vanderbilt goes to Louisville while Georgia hosts Cincinnati. Saturday will see Tennessee host Pittsburgh and West Virginia will visit Mississippi State while Arkansas travels to Connecticut and LSU goes to Rutgers.
For the 2012 SEC-Big East Challenge, this year's SEC road teams will play at home against a different opponent.
This marks the third time and second consecutive year that Auburn has played in the SEC-Big East Challenge. The Tigers lost to Rutgers in Pittsburgh, Pa., last season and lost to West Virginia in 2007 in the BJCC Arena in Birmingham.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 12 games. Times and networks for the games will be announced by August 15.
Although Auburn's 2011-12 basketball schedule is a few months away from being announced, the Tigers will also play in the 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic along with Clemson, Kansas State, Xavier, UTEP, Long Beach State, Southern Illinois and host Hawaii on Dec. 22, 23 and 25, ESPN Regional Television, Inc., announced on Feb. 24. The games will be played at the Stan Sheriff Center on the campus of the University of Hawaii.
The Southeastern Conference will match up against the Big East Conference for 12 games over three days in early December for the Big East/SEC Challenge. Every SEC member will be a part of the event while 12 of the 16 Big East schools will participate. Six of the games will be played at SEC home arenas while six will be played at home facilities for Big East schools. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 12 games of the three-day event.
This year's event features the defending national champion (Connecticut), another Final Four participant (Kentucky) and an Elite Eight team (Florida) from last year's NCAA Tournament. Nine of the schools are ranked in an early preseason top 25 by ESPN.com's Andy Katz, including seven of the top 15 teams: No. 2 Kentucky, No. 4 Syracuse, No. 6 Connecticut, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 9 Louisville, No. 12 Florida and No. 14 Alabama.
Last year the SEC finished with a 3-1 record in the annual event. Arkansas and Kentucky earned victories over Seton Hall and No. 23 Notre Dame, respectively, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, in Louisville, Ky. Tennessee upset No. 3 Pittsburgh while Auburn fell to Rutgers at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Dec. 11. In the event of a 6-6 tie this year, the Challenge trophy will remain with the conference that won the previous year.
This is the fifth year that the SEC and Big East have played each other as a part of an in-season event with the overall series tied 8-8. Previously known as the SEC/Big East Invitational, the first four years of the event (2007-2010) featured four matchups between the two conferences from two neutral sites.
The event title will alternate to the SEC/Big East Challenge in 2012 and be played Thursday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 1. SEC teams will alternate home and away games.
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