UPDATE: The new, 12-team SEC/Big East Invitational will run Dec. 1-3, 2011 on campus locations. Read the release here.PITTSBURGH — The annual SEC/Big East Invitational will likely expand next year to a 12-game series held on college campuses, according to a Big East source.
“It will likely start next year,” the source said, adding that the series would be in the “mold” of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge which features games on campus locations instead of neutral sites.
All 12 SEC teams would be involved in the event and 12 of the 16 Big East teams would play. ESPN would decide which four Big East teams would miss each year. (TCU officially becomes the Big East’s 17th team in 2012.).
“Ultimately, it’s ESPN’s decision,” the source said in reference to the matchups and which teams would sit each season.
This is the last year of the current four-year SEC/Big East Invitational. The series is tied at 7-7 entering Saturday’s games here in which Rutgers meets Auburn and No. 3 Pitt meets No. 11 Tennessee. Both games are on ESPN2.
In the current ACC-Big Ten Challenge, one ACC team does not compete each year because the ACC has 12 teams and the Big Ten 11. When Nebraska joins the Big Ten next year, the challenge is expected to expand to 12 games.
The new SEC/Big East Invitational would be similar, with games moving from neutral sites like Freedom Hall and the Consol Energy Center to college venues.
The source said the announcement will come “hopefully in the next couple weeks.”
Elsewhere in Big East news, a Big East official will visit Seton Hall Monday night for the Longwood game to discuss placement of the student section, which could be a concern once league games start. Read more here.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.