After a two-year layoff, South Carolina is back in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The Gamecocks will host Texas Tech on Jan. 27 in this year’s event, the first time the two teams have played each other since 1976-77. The Red Raiders are coming off an 18-14 season in their first year under Chris Beard while Frank Martin’s squad posted the winningest season in school history and advanced to its first Final Four.
It’s a two-year exemption, so USC will also play in the 2018-19 Big 12/SEC Challenge. That schedule has not been released but the Gamecocks will likely play a road game.
It will be the third straight season that the Challenge will take place in the middle of the SEC season, and the four SEC teams not participating (Auburn, Missouri, Mississippi State and LSU) will play one of the others in a conference game on Jan. 27. The 10 SEC teams in the Challenge will start conference play a week earlier than the four non-participants in order to accommodate the Challenge.
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The Big 12 won the first three years of the competition until the SEC worked a 5-5 tie last year. USC has gone 1-1 in it, losing to Oklahoma State on the road in the first year of the event but pounding the Cowboys in Columbia the next year.
The Gamecocks are still in the process of finalizing their schedule. The SEC didn’t release the conference part of the schedule until Sept. 7 last year.
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2017-18 SOUTH CAROLINA BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 16, 17-19 Tire Pros Puerto Rico Tipoff (San Juan)
USC, Iowa State, Tulsa, UTEP, Boise State, Florida State, Illinois State, Western Michigan
TBA at Wofford
TBA at Clemson
Jan. 27 TEXAS TECH (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
March 7-11 SEC tournament (at St. Louis)
Home games in CAPS
The Gamecocks could start a home-and-home series with Massachusetts, with the first game in Amherst, this season as part of a partnership with UMass for a football game in 2016. USC owes a return game to Michigan in Ann Arbor that could be this year or next year.
USC’s permanent SEC opponents (home-and-home series) remain Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi State.