Big 12/SEC Challenge 2013: Highlighting Top Remaining Matchups

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2013

LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives upcourt on a fast break as Timajh Parker-Rivera #15 and Rafriel Guthrie #22 of the Towson Tigers chase during the game at Allen Fieldhouse on November 22, 2013 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2013 Big 12/SEC Challenge continues this December with nine intriguing matchups pitting some of the country's top programs against one another. 

Alabama has given the SEC an early lead in the challenge after knocking off Texas Tech in Tuscaloosa last month. But with Big 12 heavyweights such as Oklahoma State, Kansas and Baylor still awaiting a chance to shine, things are sure to tighten up in the coming weeks.

With the best games still to come, we'll highlight the top remaining showdowns to watch for.

*AP Top 25 rankings as of Week 4.

 

South Carolina vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 14:  Marcus Smart #33 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys performs a reverse dunk during the quarterfinal game of the 2013 Men's Big 12 Championships against the Baylor Bears at Sprint Center on March 14, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

When: Friday, Dec. 6 at 9:30 p.m. ET

Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, Okla.

Watch: ESPNU

Although South Carolina is off to a sluggish start, you can bet the Gamecocks will bring their A-game to Stillwater for Friday's matchup with Oklahoma State.

After all, Frank Martin's squad played Baylor tough on the road earlier this year, losing by just two points in Waco.

If you're looking for a future NBA star in this game, look no further than Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart. The dynamic guard chose to put the NBA on hold and return for his sophomore season last spring, and so far it appears he made the right decision.

He's averaging 21.7 points per game on 48 percent shooting this season and has the Cowboys off to an impressive start. 

 

No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 18 Baylor

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 01:  Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks the ball during the exhibition game against the Transylvania Pioneers at Rupp Arena on November 1, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When: Friday, Dec. 6 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Watch: ESPN

Friday night's showdown between Kentucky and Baylor in Arlington is sure to produce plenty of fireworks, as some of the top players in the country will be on display.

Kentucky freshman Julius Randle headlines this matchup. The National Player of the Year candidate is averaging a double-double and leading the Wildcats in both scoring and rebounding in 2013-14.

On the other side, Baylor will feature a core of talent highlighted by senior forward Cory Jefferson, who also leads his team in scoring and rebounding. 

Baylor big man Isaiah Austin is also worth tuning in for. In addition to boasting incredible length, Austin is a tremendous shot-blocker (3.6 per game) and was projected by some as a potential lottery pick last spring.

 

No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 15 Florida

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18:  Center Patric Young #4 of the Florida Gators grabs a rebound against the Southern Jaguars November 18, 2013 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.   Young scored 12 points and the Gators won 67 - 53. (P
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

When: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Gainesville, Fla.

Watch: ESPN

The final can't-miss Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup will feature two more top-ranked programs squaring off in prime time when Andrew Wiggins and Kansas visit the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville to battle the Florida Gators.

Both teams have suffered early losses but are still national championship contenders coming into this meeting.

Not only is the highly touted Wiggins set to showcase his talents, but several big-time Gators will also look to steal the show at home. Casey Prather is leading Florida with 19 points per game this season, and sharpshooting sophomore Michael Frazier II isn't far behind, scoring 14 per game on 54 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

This matchup could also turn out to be Wiggins' coming-out party, as he's yet to turn in a jaw-dropping performance this season.

 

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