Walt Beazley

Big 12/SEC Challenge Coming To BWA

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Coming of a 27-win campaign and the program’s 30th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Arkansas men’s basketball team will host former Southwest Conference (SWC) rival Texas Tech during its 2015-16 non-conference slate, as matchups for the third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge Presented by Sonic were released on Thursday.

The Razorbacks will welcome the Red Raiders to Bud Walton Arena (BWA) on Saturday, Jan. 30. The meeting will be the 78th all-time between the two programs, but the first at BWA. Arkansas has taken eight of the last 10 meetings, while its last game against Texas Tech came in 2006 in North Little Rock. The Razorbacks won their last four games against the Red Raiders as a member of the SWC, averaging 98 points per game over that span.

Eight of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will also be available via WatchESPN. ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the Saturday morning and evening roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season – will originate from one of the Challenge games, to be announced at a later date.

The first two years of the challenge were played over several days in November and December but the 2016 event will be consolidated to one single day in January. A bye in the league schedule for participating teams was created to accommodate the new format. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.

Arkansas made its first appearance in the Big 12/SEC Challenge last season, traveling to Ames, Iowa to take on then-No. 20 Iowa State.

The Jan. 30th home date against Texas Tech is one of three announced games on the 2015-16 non-conference schedule, as Arkansas will return road games to ACC foe Wake Forest and A-10 member Dayton as part of a home-and-home series. The full non-conference schedule will be available at a later date.

Seat deposits for 2015-16 campaign for new season ticket holders can be made by calling the Razorback Ticket Office at 1-800-982-4647 or by visiting www.ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Deposits are $100 per seat.

In its fourth season under Anderson, Arkansas put together the sixth-most wins in the program’s storied 92-year history while making the 30th NCAA Tournament appearance, but the first since 2008, defeating Wofford to advance to the third round. The Razorbacks accomplished several feats for the first time since the glory days of the 1990’s, using Anderson’s #Fastest40 style to lead the SEC in scoring (77.4), assists (16.1), assist/turnover ratio (1.35), turnover margin (+3.8), offensive rebounds (13.1) and steals (7.7).

Arkansas’ 27-9 record included a 13-5 mark in the SEC, which placed five teams in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. As the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament, the Razorbacks advanced to the championship game for the first time since 2008 and the sixth time in program history. The No. 2 seed marked the third straight year under Anderson that Arkansas has improved its seeding for the SEC Tournament by at least two spots.