"Anytime you play a team from the Big East, you know it's going to be tough," 14th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "West Virginia's record and what they've done in the NCAA Tournament the last couple of years speaks for itself. It's going to be a tough game, but one I know our fans will be excited about. They'll be well coached and it will be a good test for us before we start SEC play."
The Bulldogs and Mountaineers have met just once, with that outing coming in the semifinals of the 2007 NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This past season, the Mountaineers posted a 21-12 ledger and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Kentucky, 71-63.
All-time, MSU is 9-13 against the 16 teams that comprise the Big East, having played 10 different foes. The six teams the Bulldogs haven't faced are Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall and St. John's. The team Mississippi State has faced the most is Cincinnati, with the two splitting their four games.
The last Big East squad Mississippi State battled was DePaul in December of 2009, a game the Bulldogs won in Tampa, 76-45, also in the SEC/Big East Challenge.
The Bulldogs could play two Big East teams this year, as St. John's is one of the four teams participating in the 2K Sports Classic Classic in November at Madison Square Garden, along with Arizona and Texas A&M.
History Of This Event
Last year the SEC finished with a 3-1 record in the annual event. Arkansas and Kentucky earned victories over Seton Hall and No. 23 Notre Dame, respectively, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, in Louisville, Ky., Tennessee upset No. 3 Pittsburgh while Auburn fell to Rutgers at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Dec. 11. In the event of a 6-6 tie this year, the Challenge trophy will remain with the conference that won the previous year.
This is the fifth year that the SEC and Big East have played each other as a part of an in-season event with the overall series tied 8-8. Previously known as the SEC/Big East Invitational, the first four years of the event (2007-2010) featured four matchups between the two conferences from two neutral sites.
2011 SEC/Big East Challenge Schedule
Thursday, Dec. 1
Friday, Dec. 2
Saturday, Dec. 3