FAYETTEVILLE — The wait is finally over. With the SEC matchups and an exhibition game already set, the Razorbacks revealed their non-conference slate to complete the 2022-23 Arkansas basketball schedule.
According to The D1 Docket, a Twitter account that tracks such announcements, Arkansas was the 332nd Division I team — out of 363 — to release its non-conference basketball schedule. It comes after the 2023 SEC baseball schedule was released and recalled, and following the unveiling of the 2023 football schedule.
The delay likely won’t diminish the excitement surrounding this year’s squad, which is widely considered a preseason top-10 team and features a trio of McDonald’s All-Americans.
As usual, the Razorbacks are scheduled to play 13 non-conference games and an 18-game SEC slate, giving them 31 games in the regular season.
Not included in that number is arguably the most anticipated exhibition game in UA history, as Arkansas recently announced it would travel to Austin, Texas, for a matchup with former SWC rival — and future SEC foe — Texas on Oct. 29.
It will mark the opening of the Longhorns’ new Moody Center and tip off at 3 p.m. CT on the Longhorn Network. While the gridiron Longhorns are off that day, the Arkansas football team is playing at Auburn and the kickoff time has yet to be announced, so there could be conflict.
Without that conflict, and had it been added to the regular-season schedule, Texas would have a case to be the Razorbacks’ biggest non-conference game of the 2022-23 season. Not only are the Longhorns still considered a rival by many fans, but Arkansas’ Eric Musselman and Texas’ Chris Beard also have a coaching rivalry.
In the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Musselman and the Razorbacks won a thriller of Beard’s Texas Tech squad to clinch a spot in the Sweet 16. Back in 2017, Musselman’s Nevada team blew an 11-point second-half lead in Lubbock. He has since criticized the officiating in that game as helping Beard’s Texas Tech team win in overtime.
Alas, though, Arkansas vs Texas is an exhibition and won’t factor in to either team’s tournament resume come March. That will probably have to wait until Texas officially joins the SEC. However, the Razorbacks are getting another crack at another future conference foe, which leads off our list of their biggest non-conference games of 2022-23…
Dec. 10 — vs. Oklahoma (Tulsa, Okla.)
College basketball fans are getting an early glimpse of the Arkansas-Oklahoma rivalry thanks to the two teams agreeing to a non-conference series played in Tulsa, which is almost exactly halfway between the two campuses.
The series actually began last year, although Eric Musselman and the Razorbacks would probably like to forget the game ever happened. Heading to Tulsa with an undefeated 9-0 record and No. 12 ranking, Arkansas got obliterated 88-66.
The Sooners knocked down a whopping 13 of 22 (59.1%) attempts from beyond the arc and led by as many as 26. It was so ugly that Musselman decided to watch the final 3:30 from the locker room, as he was ejected after an animated argument with the officials.
It was the first of back-to-back embarrassing losses — more on the second loss below — but Arkansas eventually figured things out and made it back to the Elite Eight. Oklahoma went the other direction and ended its season with a home loss to St. Bonaventure in the second round of the NIT.
The second matchup in the series will provide Arkansas an opportunity for payback, even though only Dev Davis and Kamani Johnson are back from last year’s team. But rest assured, Musselman won’t forget how it went down and will have the team ready to go Dec. 10.
Jan. 28 — at Baylor (Waco, Texas)
Another game with rematch implications, Baylor ended Arkansas’ first Elite Eight run under Eric Musselman two years ago on its way to winning the 2021 national title.
It was probably the Bears’ toughest game during the NCAA Tournament and might have been closer had JD Notae stayed out of foul trouble and not fouled out with 13:38 remaining. Alas, it ended up being a 81-72 loss for Arkansas.
This year’s game has the potential to be a top-10 matchup, something the Razorbacks haven’t had in the regular season since their famous Super Bowl Sunday win over Kentucky in 1995.
Nov. 21-23 — Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawaii)
Could grouping three games together for a list of the biggest games be considered cheating? Sure, but we make the rules and it makes sense considering it’s not yet clear who Arkansas will be playing in each game.
What’s known so far is that the Razorbacks will open up the Maui Invitational against Louisville on Nov. 21. That sounds like a sexy matchup, but the Cardinals are coming off a 13-19 season and they aren’t expected to immediately return to relevance this year.
The much more intriguing matchups are in the next couple of games, but they won’t be determined until the bracket plays out. Arkansas will face either Creighton or Texas Tech in its second game — teams ranked No. 7 and No. 24, respectively, in ESPN’s latest “Way-Too-Early Top 25.”
The opposite side of the bracket, where the Razorbacks’ third opponent in Maui will come from, features No. 16 Arizona, No. 23 San Diego State, Cincinnati and Ohio State.
Nov. 7 — vs. North Dakota State (Bud Walton Arena)
It’s cliche to say one of the biggest games of the season is the first one on the schedule, but that is the case this year.
North Dakota State is a solid basketball program coming off a 23-10 season in which it was No. 152 in the KenPom ratings. It was the sixth time in 10 years that the Bison have won 20-plus games. They last made the NCAA Tournament in 2019, but were also going in 2020 before it was canceled.
The Summit League is nothing to scoff at, either, as it has proven to be a solid low-major conference in recent years. Just two years ago, Oral Roberts reached the Sweet 16 as a 15-seed. It’s also where Stanley Umude played — at South Dakota — before transferring to Arkansas.
It’s a game the Razorbacks should still win, but not one they can sleep-walk through and expect to avoid being upset.
A case could also be made for their third game of the season, as they’re set to host South Dakota State on Nov. 16. Another team out of the Summit League, the Jackrabbits actually went 30-5 last year and were No. 81 on KenPom.
That likely would have been the game we mentioned here, but South Dakota State did lost its start player. Baylor Scheierman was one of the top transfers of the offseason and, after considering Arkansas, landed at Creighton.
Dec. 17 — vs. Bradley (North Little Rock)
Again, this doesn’t seem like an attractive non-conference matchup, but it’s the annual game at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock — where the Razorbacks have traditionally struggled — and Bradley is a solid team.
Despite a 17-14 overall record, the Braves cracked the top 100 on KenPom last year. They went 11-7 in conference play, which was good for fifth in the 10-team Missouri Valley, another solid mid-major conference.
It’s a similar resume to Hofstra last season, which went 21-11, ranked No. 120 on KenPom and finished third in the 10-team Colonial Athletic Association. The Pride, of course, handed Arkansas its second straight loss by winning 89-81 in North Little Rock.
That loss dropped the Razorbacks’ record to 12-10 all-time inside the building formerly known as Alltel and Verizon Arena. They have also lost to the likes of Mercer, UAB and Appalachian State at the venue.
Bradley will enter the game on an 11-day layoff, while Arkansas has a 7-day layoff. With star freshman and North Little Rock product Nick Smith Jr. leading the way, the Razorbacks will be trying to avoid another embarrassing loss in the central part of the state.
Full 2022-23 Arkansas Basketball Schedule
|Oct. 16||Red-White Game||Barnhill Arena||TBA||TBA|
|Oct. 29||Texas (exhibition)||Austin, Texas||3 p.m.||Longhorn Network|
|Nov. 7||North Dakota State||Bud Walton Arena||TBA||TBA|
|Nov. 11||Fordham||Bud Walton Arena||TBA||TBA|
|Nov. 16||South Dakota State||Bud Walton Arena||TBA||TBA|
|Nov. 21||Louisville^||Lahaina, Hawaii||4 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Nov. 22||Texas Tech or Creighton^||Lahaina, Hawaii||TBA||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Nov. 23||TBA^||Lahaina, Hawaii||TBA||ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|Nov. 28||Troy||Bud Walton Arena||TBA||TBA|
|Dec. 3||San Jose State||Bud Walton Arena||TBA||TBA|
|Dec. 6||UNC Greensboro||Bud Walton Arena||TBA||TBA|
|Dec. 10||Oklahoma||Tulsa, Okla.||Noon||ESPN|
|Dec. 17||Bradley (&)||North Little Rock||3 p.m.||n/a|
|Dec. 21||UNC Asheville||Bud Walton Arena||TBA||TBA|
|Dec. 28||LSU*||Baton Rouge, La.||8 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|Jan. 4||Missouri*||Bud Walton Arena||7:30 p.m.||SEC Network|
|Jan. 7||Auburn*||Auburn, Ala.||7:30 p.m.||SEC Network|
|Jan. 11||Alabama*||Bud Walton Arena||6 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|Jan. 14||Vanderbilt*||Nashville, Tenn.||1 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|Jan. 18||Missouri*||Columbia, Mo.||8 p.m.||SEC Network|
|Jan. 21||Ole Miss*||Bud Walton Arena||11 a.m.||ESPN2|
|Jan. 24||LSU*||Bud Walton Arena||6 p.m.||ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|Jan. 28||Baylor (#)||Waco, Texas||3 or 5 p.m.||ESPN|
|Jan. 31||Texas A&M*||Bud Walton Arena||6 p.m.||ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|Feb. 4||South Carolina*||Columbia, S.C.||2:30 p.m.||SEC Network|
|Feb. 7||Kentucky*||Lexington, Ky.||8 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Feb. 11||Mississippi State*||Bud Walton Arena||5 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|Feb. 15||Texas A&M*||College Station, Texas||8 p.m.||ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|Feb. 18||Florida*||Bud Walton Arena||1 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Feb. 21||Georgia*||Bud Walton Arena||8 p.m.||SEC Network|
|Feb. 25||Alabama*||Tuscaloosa, Ala.||1 or 3 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Feb. 28||Tennessee*||Knoxville, Tenn.||8 p.m.||ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU|
|March 4||Kentucky*||Bud Walton Arena||1 p.m.||CBS|
|March 8-12||SEC Tournament||Nashville, Tenn.||TBA||TBA|
(Final Four: Houston)
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