Earlier this week, the SEC announced changes to the conference basketball schedule. The addition of two new teams resulted in a need to alter the current schedule, and the new plans were approved at the league’s annual meeting. There are lots of changes to consider with each team’s regular season schedule, totally apart from all the changes necessary in the SEC Tournament.
Last year there were 12 conference teams, and each played a 16-game schedule. Five opponents were played twice (10 games) and six opponents were played once (6 games), totaling 16 games. Things were nice and simple, and there wasn’t much math involved. In 2013, there will be 14 teams in the conference, and each will play an 18-game schedule. It sounds simple, but it gets worse.
First off, each school has a “permanent rival”, who will always be played twice each season. The main caveat is that, depending on the year, other opponents will either be played once or twice. Specifically, eight teams will be played only once each year, and four teams will be played twice, but which teams those are changes from year to year. So every three years (enough time for a full rotation) each regular team will be played four times, and the permanent rival will be played six times. Kentucky’s permanent rival is Florida.
It helps to think about this entire process by looking at a single matchup. Let’s look at Vanderbilt. In year 1, Kentucky might player Vanderbilt two times, once at home and once away. In year 2, Kentucky only plays Vanderbilt once, and the game is away. In year 3, Kentucky only plays Vanderbilt once, and the game is at home. When then schedule is rotated through each time, everything evens out nicely.
- Each team plays 18 games. Every team is played at least once every year.
- The permanent rival is played twice every year. Kentucky’s rival is Florida. [2 games]
- Teams play four opponents twice each year. The teams rotate each season. [8 games]
- All other opponents are played once time. [8 games]
It may take some time before people get used to this new schedule, but it was probably as fair a format as possible, considering the need to keep the number of games down and keeping the balance of teams played even. There will undoubtedly be complaints form Kentucky faithful, but all in all, this should work out nicely.
Filed Under: Basketball
About the Author: Corey Tincher is a lifelong Kentucky fan and professional writer who couldn't keep the two worlds apart. He is the lead contributor for StraitCats.com and literally wrote the book on the 2012 NCAA Tournament Championship run, Big Blue Articles: Kentucky Basketball in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Follow @Corey_Tincher on Twitter for more Kentucky news and discussion.