Arkansas Basketball: 3 intriguing non-conference opponents

Eric Musselman, Arkansas basketball (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Eric Musselman, Arkansas basketball (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
Arkansas Basketball
Jaylin Williams, Arkansas basketball (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) /

If you believe Bud Walton Arena truly is the basketball palace of Mid-America, then boy do I have news for you. Arkansas Basketball is less than a week away.

Head coach Eric Musselman aims to continue building Razorback Basketball into a national power, and the team comes in at No.15 in the initial 2022 Pomeroy College Basketball Rankings.

While the non-conference slate does have its share of tune-ups, there are at least three intriguing matchups worth highlighting.

The Arkansas basketball team has several intriguing non-conference games on the 2021-22 slate

(It should be noted, I might have said the same thing about last year’s schedule, but Oral Roberts and North Texas blew that notion out of the water. Excited to see which “gimmie” games this year prove to be great wins come March.)

Intriguing Matchup #1: Illinois, Hall of Fame Classic, November 23rd

Ok—so I’m kind of cheating with this first one. For this game to even happen the Hogs must first beat Kansas State and the Illini must beat Cincinnati. Still, this gets mentioned as our first intriguing matchup based on potential alone.

The Illini are coming off a season that saw them earn a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. How are they following that up? By being number five in the KenPom rankings and 11th in the preseason AP Top 25.

A win over this team could be a huge feather in the cap win for Razorback Basketball.

Intriguing Matchup #2: “The In-State Week” (Central Arkansas and Little Rock, December 1st and December 4th)

Athletic Director Hunter Yuracheck continues to make in-state matchups a priority, and we see this here. Both Central Arkansas and Little Rock come to Bud Walton Arena for tilts with Razorback Basketball in the span of a week.

Neither team poses a threat on paper, (They are 322 and 298 in KenPom, respectively.) but that’s why you play the games. You can expect both teams to come in fired-up to compete against the flagship program.

Intriguing Matchup #3: West Virginia, SEC/Big 12 Challenge, January 29th

This third matchup was always going to be about the opposing coach. I nearly gave the nod to the Oklahoma neutral site game and new head coach Porter Moser, but ultimately gave the nod to West Virginia and head coach Bob Huggins.

Per Whole Hog Sports, Huggins is 2-1 against the Razorbacks all time, including 1-0 in his only trip to Bud Walton Arena. Musselman would love to even that mark for Arkansas basketball.

Also intriguing here: The return of former Hog Gabe Osabuohien who earned a Big 12 All-Defensive team nod last year with the Mountaineers. 

Next. Some Razorback fans need a dose of perspective. dark