Newcomers, Wildcats highlight SEC Basketball schedule

JAMES CARR
@jamescarr89

The SEC released their new 14-team conference schedules for the upcoming 2012/13 season on Friday, with the Kentucky Wildcats featured most prominently on the national spotlight.

The Missouri Tigers will also be a point of interest, adding a strong basketball team to the mix in the SEC, as well as the Texas A&M Aggies and Frank Martin’s arrival to South Carolina.

Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina will all head to Rupp Arena in the spring for nationally televised games.

The Wildcats once again enter 2012 with a young, highly ranked team that has become coach John Calipari’s bread and butter. The Wildcats come off a national championship winning season in which six players were taken in the NBA draft.

Whereas the Aggies and Gamecocks may take time reestablishing their programs, Missouri looks to contend in the SEC straight away. They earned a two seed in the NCAA tournament last season, crashing out earlier than anticipated, but the 2012 National Coach of the Year Frank Haith returns a number of players and added Alex Oriakhi from Connecticut. As a result, the Tigers will star in a school record 13 nationally-televised contests.

Additional games of interest will be the Wildcats vs. the Vanderbilt Commodores in a rematch of last season’s SEC Championship on January 10. The Wildcats take on the Tennessee Volunteers on January 15, and the Alabama Crimson Tide on January 22. Kentucky’s schedule heats up in February, facing Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Missouri in consecutive contests.

Missouri will also face a difficult February, traveling to traditional SEC West powers Mississippi State, and Arkansas, and visiting Kentucky.

The final games of the season take place on March 9, with the SEC Tournament taking place on March 13 in Nashville, Tennessee.