March 22, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Florida Gators guard Kenny Boynton (1) dribbles the ball against Marquette Golden Eagles guard Darius Johnson-Odom (center) during the second half in the semifinals of the west region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at US Airways Center. The Gators defeated the Golden Eagles 68-58. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewickel-US PRESSWIRE
Coming off a year in which Florida traveled to Syracuse to play one of the early season's biggest games in the 2011 SEC-Big East Challenge, Gators fans were hoping for a big name at home in Gainesville for the 2012 SEC-Big East Challenge, and none was bigger than Louisville: The Big East's only Final Four team in 2012 got there by downing the Gators in the Elite Eight, and the matchup of Louisville's Rick Pitino against Florida's Billy Donovan will always be narratively rich.
Florida will host the Golden Eagles on November 29 in the O'Connell Center, in one of the biggest home games of the Gators' 2012-13 schedule, but there will be far less excitement this matchup than there would have been for one with Louisville. That's probably not the Gators' fault, though: Louisville either won't be participating in the SEC-Big East Challenge this year, apparently, with 12 matchups featuring the 12 current SEC teams all announced, or the Cardinals will be matched up with either Missouri or Texas A&M, the SEC's newcomers.
Florida put away Marquette late in that Sweet Sixteen game, 68-58, and the Golden Eagles may be scuffling at the beginning of the 2012-13 season while trying to replace Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, both stellar seniors last year. Florida returns every significant contributor from its 2011-12 roster save Erving Walker.
And so I put it to you: Are you happy with playing Marquette, or would you have wanted one of the Big East's bigger names?
Are you happy with Florida's SEC-Big East Challenge game with Marquette?
Yes, Marquette will give the Gators a good run (76 votes)
No, I wanted to see Florida play someone else (15 votes)
91 total votes