ESPN Regional Television (ERT) announced today the start times for the third annual SEC/BIG EAST Invitational, to be held Dec. 9-10 in New York City and Tampa, Fla.
The two-night men's college basketball event begins with a doubleheader Wednesday, Dec. 9, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The matchups feature Georgia vs. St. John's at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by Kentucky vs. Connecticut at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
On Thursday, Dec. 10, at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, DePaul will take on Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by Syracuse vs. Florida at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Six of the eight participating teams reached the postseason in 2008-09, with Connecticut, Mississippi State and Syracuse playing in the NCAA Tournament. The Orange made it to the Sweet Sixteen, while the Huskies advanced to the Final Four. Florida and Kentucky played in the National Invitation Tournament, while St. John's played in the College Basketball Invitational.
Teams invited to participate in the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational are chosen by ESPN in consultation with the conferences and are based on geographic and competitive criteria.
The BIG EAST holds a 5-3 record in the first two years of the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational. The two conferences have combined to produce four of the last seven NCAA Men's Basketball Champions (Florida - 2007 and 2006; Connecticut - 2004; Syracuse - 2003) and seven of the last 14 national champions (Connecticut - 1999; Kentucky - 1998 and 1996).
Tickets for the 2009 SEC/BIG EAST Invitational are expected to go on sale in early September. For more information, visit the official Web site: secbigeastinvitational.com.