CLEVELAND — The Mid-American Conference and Sun Belt Conference announced a new challenge in men’s and women’s basketball that will see two matchups beginning next season.

What You Need To Know

  • The Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference announced a basketball challenge

  • The event will include men’s and women's basketball games involving 12 teams from each conference

  • The conferences will have two games in both the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons

The challenge will involve the 12 MAC schools playing two games versus 12 of the SBC’s member schools. Beginning with the 2023-24 season, the first set of games will be played from Wednesday, Nov. 8, to Saturday, Nov. 11.

The second round will be Saturday, Feb. 10.

The November games will be determined based on projected NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) rankings heading into the season. The second game in February will be set based on real-time NET rankings and announced in January.

Each MAC and Sun Belt team included in the MAC-SBC Challenge will be guaranteed one home and one away game each season, the conferences said in a press release.

The challenge also was confirmed for the 2024-25 season.

2023-24 Schedule

Nov. 8-Nov. 11 – MAC Women at Sun Belt Women
Nov. 8-Nov. 11 – Sun Belt Men at MAC Men
Feb. 10 – Sun Belt Women at MAC Women
Feb. 10 – MAC Men at Sun Belt Men

2024-25 Schedule

Nov. 6-Nov. 9 – Sun Belt Women at MAC Women
Nov. 6-Nov. 9 – MAC Men at Sun Belt Men
Feb. 8 – MAC Women at Sun Belt Women
Feb. 8 – Sun Belt Men at MAC Men

“The MAC-SBC Challenge series will provide great opportunities to match-up with similar strength opponents and will allow us to gain home games,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a press release. “This fits perfectly with our right-size scheduling philosophy. I am appreciative of the Sun Belt Conference and look forward to the competition on the court.”

Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Keith Gill said the challenge provides guaranteed quality competition for the conferences’ members.

“The MAC-SBC Challenge is unique because it annually provides our men’s and women’s basketball teams with two quality games against peer institutions,” said Gill. “This new partnership will create so many interesting matchups and be exciting for our membership and our fans.” 

Members of the Mid-American Conference:

University of Akron
Ball State University
Bowling Green State University
University of Buffalo
Central Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University
Kent State University
Miami University (OH)
Northern Illinois University
Ohio Univeristy
University of Toledo
Western Michigan University

Members of the Sun Belt Conference:

Appalachian State University
Arkansas State University
Coastal Carolina University
Georgia Southern University
Georgia State University
James Madison University
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
University of Louisiana Monroe
Marshall University
Old Dominion University
University of South Alabama
University of Southern Mississippi
Texas State University
Troy University

Scheduling assistance will be provided by Ordinal Sports Group. Besides relevant NET data, geography and frequency of past contests will be considered in determining the matchups.