College basketball just got a whole lot better with the announcement Thursday that the SEC and The AAC have agreed to a scheduling alliance in men’s basketball beginning in the 2019-20 season.
As part of the alliance, four schools from each conference will participate in two-year, home-and-home series, providing the college game with matchups from two of the top leagues in the sport.
“Men’s basketball in the SEC has been on the rise and this scheduling alliance will help to continue the growth of the sport,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “This will provide four high quality games for both leagues during non-conference play.”
Part of the appeal of these conferences agreeing to an alliance is nonconference scheduling strength. The SEC sent seven teams from its conference last season to the NCAA Tournament, and the AAC landed four teams in the NCAA Tournament’s field of 68. Pitting teams from each respective conference against one another will only improve each league’s chances of furthering, and improving, that postseason trend.
“I am extremely pleased that we have entered into this scheduling alliance with the SEC,” said AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco. “SEC Basketball offers quality opponents which will elevate our nonconference schedules. The additional Quadrant 1 and 2 games for our members and the SEC will prove mutually beneficial when Tournament bids are awarded on Selection Sunday. This agreement demonstrates the continued growth and appeal of American Athletic Conference Basketball. I want to thank Greg Sankey and Dan Leibovitz for their work on and support for this arrangement, which strengthens the men’s basketball ties between our conferences that began with our basketball officiating consortium.”
Teams to play in the imminent matchups as part of the alliance will not be announced until late May, at which time schools will proceed with scheduling dates and times. All four games will be aired on ESPN networks.