Former conference rivals Texas A&M and Texas will face off in women's basketball this season for the first time since 2014, part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchups announced Thursday. Game dates and times for most of the meetings are still to be announced.
The Texas A&M-Texas game will be in Austin, Texas, and have a new element in coach Vic Schaefer, who left Mississippi State in April to take over the Longhorns. Schaefer previously was an assistant to the Aggies' Gary Blair at Texas A&M and at Arkansas. Blair and Schaefer have squared off in the SEC the past eight years.
Texas A&M is ranked No. 18 in ESPN.com's way-too-early top 25 for 2020-21. It will be the 86th meeting overall between Texas A&M and Texas, who previously were in the Southwest Conference and then the Big 12 together until the Aggies moved to the SEC for the 2012-13 season.
The SEC/Big 12 challenge also will feature South Carolina, ranked No. 1 by ESPN, traveling to Iowa State, ranked No. 16. It will be the first-ever matchup between the Gamecocks and Cyclones. South Carolina finished the 2019-20 season at 32-1 and ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press and coaches' polls. This game is one that already has a date: Dec. 6.
Another intriguing matchup is Baylor, the 2019 NCAA champion and ranked No. 5 by ESPN, vs. No. 19 Arkansas, a program that has been steadily rebuilding since coach Mike Neighbors took over in 2017-18. The Razorbacks were 24-8 this season, their most wins since going 28-4 in 1990-91. Baylor went 28-2 this season and won its 10th consecutive Big 12 regular-season championship.
The other matchup involving a school ranked in ESPN's too-early top 25 is No. 12 Kentucky at Kansas State, which will be the first meeting between those programs. Also, Tennessee will travel to West Virginia; they've met six times, but this will be the first since 2007.
All 10 Big 12 schools take part in the challenge, which has five games hosted by each conference. The other matchups are: Alabama at Oklahoma State, Kansas at Ole Miss, Oklahoma at Georgia, TCU at Missouri and Texas Tech at Vanderbilt. Because there are 14 schools in the SEC, they don't all take part in the challenge each year. The SEC schools not playing in it in 2020 are Auburn, Florida, LSU and Mississippi State.