Baylor basketball added another game to its already difficult non-conference slate as the 2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge schedule was announced this morning. Scott Drew's Bears will head out on the road for the second straight year in the Challenge, this time heading to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators. This assures that Baylor will get a home game as part of the 2019 Challenge.
Florida is coming off of a 27-9 season, losing to South Carolina in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, and is thought to be a team that could be top 10 good next season as well. Mike White will be in his third season as coach of the Gators following up the long, successful tenure of Billy Donovan. This will be just the second meeting ever on the hardwood between Baylor and Florida, with the other coming in 1981. Baylor won that matchup 72-71.
This will be the fifth year for the Big 12/SEC Challenge, and the third year that it has been scheduled on a Saturday in late January in the middle of conference play. Baylor is the only Big 12 school that has won all four of its previous Challenge games. Some of the other notable matchups this year are Kentucky at West Virginia, Texas A&M at Kansas, and Ole Miss at Texas. The full release can be found here. The Big 12 has never lost the Challenge to the SEC.
This game just adds to another brutal non-conference schedule that Scott Drew has put together for the 2017-18 Baylor team. The Bears already have games with Wichita State and Xavier as well as the CBE Classic tournament in Kansas City that includes UCLA, Wisconsin and Creighton. Throw in another meat grinder Big 12 and you have yourself one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Baylor has played a top 10 schedule in each of the last four seasons according to KenPom.
Baylor history in Big 12/SEC Challenge:
Dec. 6, 2013: Baylor 67 Kentucky 62 (Arlington, TX)
Dec. 4, 2014: Baylor 66 Vanderbilt 63 (Nashville, TN)
Jan. 30, 2016: Baylor 83 Georgia 73 (Waco, TX)
Jan. 28, 2017: Baylor 78 Ole Miss 75 (Oxford, MS)