Previewing Auburn and Alabama’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchups

Alabama forward Noah Clowney (15) and Mississippi State forward Tolu Smith (1) battle for...
Alabama forward Noah Clowney (15) and Mississippi State forward Tolu Smith (1) battle for position on a free throw during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)(Vasha Hunt | AP)
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 4:15 PM EST
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - The SEC/Big 12 Challenge is here and may have big implications come March Madness. No. 15 Auburn and West Virginia kick the weekend off with a matchup at WVU followed by No. 2 Alabama on the road against Oklahoma.

The SEC has come away with more wins in the last two seasons but trails the Big 12 all-time, 48-41, heading into the last season of the challenge.

“We’re looking forward to the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. I think it’s a big deal for the SEC to play well in this,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “It’s in the middle of the conference and most teams are only playing within the conference, so its big for the SEC to do well.”

Alabama has faced Oklahoma in this challenge twice before. Once in 2018, the Crimson Tide took down then-12th ranked Oklahoma, 80-73 in Tuscaloosa. The two faced off again in 2021 when No. 21 Oklahoma beat No. 9 Alabama in Oklahoma, 66-61.

Auburn and West Virginia haven’t met since 2007 in Birmingham. The Mountaineers won that game by 29.

“This is very similar to what a First Round NCAA Tournament type of game,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl.

ESPN reported that this will be the last year of the challenge and will be replaced with the ACC/SEC Challenge next year.

Auburn versus West Virginia tips-off on ESPN at Noon ET. Alabama and Oklahoma begins at 2/1c on ESPN.