FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas men's basketball team has 15 non-conference games including 13 in the state of Arkansas it was announced by head coach Mike Anderson on Monday.
Included on Arkansas' non-conference schedule are four teams that played in either the NIT or NCAA Tournament last March (Connecticut, Michigan, Oakland and Texas Southern), a return to Arkansas' days in the Southwest Conference with a game against Houston and another contest with cross-border rival, Oklahoma.
"I'm excited about this season," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "There are some great challenges on this portion of the schedule from the defending national champion to a very talented Michigan squad. We also get to play several teams that are very good, but people may not be talking about in Oklahoma, Houston and Charlotte. Out non-conference schedule should get us prepared for what will be a very difficult Southeastern Conference."
The Mike Anderson era opens on Friday, Nov. 11, when the Hogs host South Carolina-Upstate for the first time at Bud Walton Arena. The four-game Southwest Showcase is next and includes games against Oakland on Wednesday, Nov. 16, Houston on Friday, Nov. 18, Utah Valley on Tuesday, Nov. 22, and Grambling State on Saturday, Nov. 26. Oakland lost to Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago but picked up a huge win at Tennessee and returns two of its top four scorers. The Razorbacks defeated Grambling State last season, 75-52, at Bud Walton.
November closes with a game against Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 30 before the Hogs travel to defending national champion, Connecticut, on Saturday, Dec. 3, in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN at 2:15 p.m. central. The location of the Arkansas-UConn game has yet to be determined as UConn plays home games at both Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn., and the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
One week after Arkansas' game with UConn, the Razorbacks stay on the road to face Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Dec. 10. The Razorbacks defeated the Sooners at Bud Walton Arena last season, 84-74, and this year's contest marks the fifth consecutive year that the two schools have faced off with the Hogs holding a 14-11 lead in the all-time series.
The December schedule continues after final exams on Saturday, Dec. 17 when the Razorbacks host Southeastern Louisiana. The game kicks off a flurry of activity for the Razorbacks as they play three games over six days with additional contests against Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 20 and Louisiana Tech on Dec. 22. The 2011 calendar year closes with home games against UNC-Charlotte and Texas Southern on Dec. 28 and Dec. 30, respectively. Texas Southern played in the NIT a year ago, losing to Colorado in the first round.
The Razorbacks open 2012 with a home game against Savannah State on Tuesday, Jan. 3, and conclude the non-conference slate with a game at Bud Walton Arena against Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Wolverines advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2011 by defeating Tennessee in their opening contest before falling to Duke.