DESTIN, Fla. — The SEC men’s basketball scheduling format is slightly more settled than football. According to several coaches, the leading proposal is an 18-game schedule with home-and-home games against one “permanent” rival, home-and-homes against four other teams that rotate off the schedule, and eight games against the other SEC teams.
The concept would guarantee two games each year against one “permanent” opponent. This model, however, would only be in place for three years in order to provide the quickest avenue for every school to play each SEC team twice in a year.
“The ADs will have to finalize it, but I think we’re pretty much there,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who declined to discuss specifics. “It will be finalized Friday. I don’t think there’s any question about that.”
Florida coach Billy Donovan said the Gators’ permanent rival would be Kentucky, a decision that TV would clearly support. Alabama and Auburn would likely be permanent rivals, assuring they will play each other twice annually for at least the next three years.
Tennessee had hoped for at least two home-and-home opponents — Vanderbilt and Kentucky — but the proposal leaves only Tennessee paired with Vanderbilt. Other permanent rivals: Missouri-Arkansas, LSU-Texas A&M, Georgia-South Carolina and Ole Miss-Mississippi State.
“There were coaches who had some concerns and questions — who they’re playing, who’s coming on, who’s coming off,” Donovan said. “Some coaches wanted geographically more of a natural rival. I’d say there’s some level of concern for everybody because this is totally new.”