One of the best things about college basketball are the atmospheres at most games, especially big games that aren’t very common. There can certainly be great atmospheres for neutral site games, but nothing quite beats home crowds when a teams from different conferences schedule home-and-home series.
Whether it’s two big schools and strong programs playing each other on both home courts or even smaller schools getting the chance to host bigger programs with a rare shot at a major upset on their home court, the atmospheres rarely disappoint in a home-and-home.
As non-conference schedules are starting to come together for SEC basketball teams, it seemed like a good time to fantasize about which home-and-home series I would like each team to schedule for next season or the coming years.
While next season might not be the best year for long distance travel I still hope things return to “normal” eventually and some of these series are more realistic.
Also, before I begin, if you’d like to check out who already is scheduled for each SEC basketball team so far, I’ve been trying to keep track of all schedule announcements for the next few years on the resources page.
Alabama vs UAB
I’ve been pushing for Alabama to start up a home-and-home with the Blazers since Auburn re-started their series with them a few years ago. UAB hiring Andy Kennedy this off-season only makes me want this home-and-home even more.
Alabama has only played UAB once before, where the Blazers defeated the Crimson Tide 58-56 in a 1993 NIT game hosted in Tuscaloosa.
Arkansas vs UCLA
My logic for this one is that both programs are currently working to get back to their better days and both are doing so with two coaches entering their second year at each school. Cronin has quite a bit of experience on Musselman, but it would be nice to see whether Cronin’s slower pace, defensive minded scheme or Musselman’s uptempo, high scoring system would prevail with both coaches still trying to fully implement their systems at new schools.
A home-and-home series would also be the first time the two teams have faced each other since UCLA prevented Arkansas from winning back to back titles by defeating them in the 1995 National Championship game.
Arkansas has only faced the Bruins three times: a National Title loss in 1995, a Reginal Semifinal win in 1978, and a road blowout in 1973.
Auburn vs Texas
This is a totally selfish pick as a recent Auburn grad that moved to Austin, TX, but I still believe it would be a fun matchup and I bet I’m not the only one that would like to see this home-and-home.
With Texas landing top 10 prospect Greg Brown over Auburn recently, a series starting next year would be ideal, but that’s probably not likely since the Longhorns already have games with Gonzaga and Villanova booked for next season in a year where Shaka Smart’s job is on the line.
Auburn is 1-1 vs the Longhorns, but the two haven’t faced each other since 1955.
Florida vs Villanova
If we’re being honest, I just want any SEC team to schedule a home-and-home with Villanova. I also think both schools have a dominant recent history with Villanova’s run under Jay Wright being very similar to Florida’s run under Billy Donovan.
Both programs have two wins in the four games that they have played with the last game being a Florida victory to advance to the 2006 Final Four where the Gators would eventually win their first of back-to-back National Championships.
Kentucky vs Indiana
I’m pretty sure John Calipari is allergic to scheduling home-and-home series, but if he’s going to schedule any, I think this would be the best one. The two programs have not been able to come to an agreement on another matchup since the last regular season game between the two where Indiana knocked off top ranked Kentucky with a buzzer beating three in 2011.
I could probably come up with a pretty long list of home-and-home series I want to see just involving Kentucky, but honestly I’ll take anything other than the almost annual match-ups with other blue bloods on neutral courts.
Ole Miss vs
Mississippi State vs
South Carolina vs Kansas State
I think it’s finally time that Frank Martin makes a return to Manhattan, KS and faces his former team. Martin departed Kansas State to take the South Carolina job in 2012 despite never losing less than 21 games with the Wildcats.
John Currie isn’t at Kansas State anymore, so that potential storyline isn’t a factor anymore, but the two programs have still only had one meeting all time. South Carolina beat Kansas State by two on a neutral court in 1989.
This is another potential Big 12/SEC Challenge match-up, but I’d like to see a true home-and-home scheduled.
Texas A&M vs
Vanderbilt vs Harvard
Who doesn’t like watching smart kids go against even smarter kids in basketball? This one is pretty random, but the two programs have only faced each other twice all time and the most recent matchup was in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Vanderbilt is 2-0 all time against the Crimson, but now might be the chance for Harvard to get their first win in the series before Jerry Stackhouse potentially gets Vanderbilt back to winning ways.
As an added bonus, Harvard currently plays in the second oldest active venue while Memorial Gym has it’s own history spanning more than 65 years.