LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Razorbacks will host West Virginia as part of the 2021-22 SEC / Big 12 Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 29, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, according to a Twitter announcement made Wednesday by the SEC.
It will be Arkansas’ eighth appearance (overall and consecutive) in the nine-year Challenge as the Hogs own a 3-4 all-time record in the event, which is 10 games matching up teams from the two leagues and played annually on the same Saturday in late January. And once again, the Challenge will be televised by the ESPN family of networks.
The Arkansas-WVA matchup will mark the first meeting between the Razorbacks and Mountaineers in the Challenge, although Arkansas owns a 1-0 record all-time against West Virginia after a 71-64 win in the Ole Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., during the ’06-07 season.
The Hogs are coming off an NCAA tournament Elite Eight finish and a final national Top 10 ranking after placing second in the SEC in ’20-21, while West Virginia ended its season with a Round of 32 exit from the NCAA Tournament and a final ranking of No. 13 after placing third in the Big 12. Both teams were 3-seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Arkansas could face former Hog Gabe Osabuohien, a 6-8 covid-senior forward for the Mountaineers who transferred to WVA in 2019 following his sophomore season with the Razorbacks.
All-time in the Challenge, Arkansas is 1-2 against Oklahoma State, 1-1 against Texas Tech, 1-0 against TCU, and 0-1 against Iowa State with the Hogs winning all three of their home games and losing all four of their road games.
Other matchups in the ’21-22 SEC / Big 12 Challenge: Tennessee at Texas, Baylor at Alabama, Kentucky at Kansas, Oklahoma State at Florida, Oklahoma at Auburn, LSU at TCU, Missouri at Iowa State, Mississippi State at Texas Tech, and Kansas State at Ole Miss.
The SEC won the event last season, 5-4. The Big 12 holds a 4-2-2 all-time lead in the Challenge with 44 victories spanning the 79 games played in the series going back to the ’13-14 season.
Arkansas’ matchup against West Virginia brings to total three known opponents set to play the Hogs in the upcoming season, plus a neutral-site event in which the field is known but the matchups have yet to be announced.
Arkansas will host in-state Division 1 program Central Arkansas at BWA on Wednesday, Dec. 1, in a rematch of the Hoop Hogs’ 100-75 home win last season, and later Arkansas will host Elon at BWA on Tuesday, Dec. 21.
The Razorbacks are set to play in the Hall of Fame Classic (Nov. 22-23 in Kansas City, Mo.) as they will join Illinois, Kansas State, and Cincinnati to make up the 4-team event.
Assuming the NCAA allows teams to return to a normal maximum-31-games schedule — reduced to a max-27-games in ’20-21 due to the pandemic — the Hogs would be able to add another 8 or 9 opponents to their non-conference schedule as a lead-up to their 18-game SEC slate.