The schools may be the same, but the teams will be completely different. The Florida Gators and Kansas Jayhawks will once again face each other in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, this time in Lawrence. UF and KU will play Friday, December 3 at historical Allen Fieldhouse. It’s a matchup between two of the best coaches in college basketball with Billy Donovan facing Bill Self. The Gators and Jayhawks played last season with Florida coming out on top.
Both teams lose their main contributors from a year ago, with Florida losing their four senior starters: Casey Prather, Will Yeguete, Patric Young, and Scottie Wilbekin. Meanwhile, Kansas lost two potential top-5 picks in next months NBA Draft in Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins. The Jayhawks also lost starting point guard Naadir Tharpe when he decided to transfer from the program to be closer to his daughter.
Even though both squads lose the heart and soul of last year’s team, they have reloaded and will likely both be ranked in the preseason top 10. Florida returns key contributors in Michael Frazier II, Dorian Finney-Smith, Kasey Hill, and Chris Walker. The Gators also have a pair of transfers in Jon Horford and Alex Murphy, although Murphy likely won’t be able to participate until January. They also have a strong recruiting class of Chris Chiozza, Brandone Francis, and Devin Robinson, all of which are highly touted and likely to compete for playing time. There’s also the possibility of the suspended Damontre Harris joining the team.
Kansas returns Perry Ellis and Wayne Seldon, Jr. from a team that won the Big 12 last year. The Jayhawks have recruited some big time talent to replace those who left early, with signed letters-of-intent from five-star recruits Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre, as well as a verbal commitment from highly rated point guard Devonte Graham.
The Florida at Kansas matchup, along with the Texas at Kentucky game highlight the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Other matchups include Auburn at Texas Tech, Arkansas at Iowa State, Baylor at Vanderbilt, LSU at West Virginia, TCU at Ole Miss, Missouri at Oklahoma, Kansas State at Tennessee, and Oklahoma State at South Carolina. The games will take place between December 3 and 6.