By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Razorbacks released their entire 13-game non-conference schedule on Thursday, and with the recent announcement of their 18-game SEC slate, it means the full 31-game schedule for the upcoming 2022-23 season has been completed.
Highlighted by home-and-away contests against Kentucky and Alabama in SEC play — expect the Wildcats to be preseason picks to win the SEC — and road games against Tennessee and Auburn, the Razorbacks face arguably their toughest slate of league games entering Eric Musselman’s fourth season at the helm.
In non-conference play, the signature games are a first-round matchup against Louisville in the Maui Invitational in Hawaii on Nov. 21, a neutral-site tilt against Oklahoma in Tulsa on Dec. 10, and a road game against Baylor in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 28. The Hogs have 6 away-from-home matchups in their 13-game non-conference slate.
Arkansas opens league action by playing 4 of its first 6 games on the road (includes the Auburn tilt). A 3-game home stretch in late January will be sandwiched around the Hogs’ non-conference road game against Baylor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Then, it’s back on the road to start February as the Hogs will play 3 of 4 contests away from home (includes the first Kentucky matchup). Arkansas’ toughest stretch of games appears to be its final three games of the regular season (road games against Alabama and Tennessee followed by the finale at home against Kentucky).
Expect to see Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, and Alabama among the teams ranked in the various preseason Top 25 polls. When looking at that group of teams, the Hogs will have two games at home and four on the road.
When looking at the television designations, at least 18 of the 31 regular-season games will be nationally televised — 1 on CBS and 17 on one of the ESPN family of networks — with 5 of the league games set for the SEC Network.
Here is Arkansas’ ’22-23 schedule (all “home” games denoted below will be played at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville; all times are CT; games times are TBD unless specifically included) …
– Oct. 16, Red/White intrasquad scrimmage, Barnhill Arena, game time TBD
– Oct. 29, EXHIBITION game at Texas (road), 3 p.m., Longhorn Network
– Nov. 7, North Dakota State (home)
– Nov. 11, Fordham (home)
– Nov. 16, South Dakota State (home)
– Nov. 21, Louisville (neutral-site, Maui Invitational in Lahaina, HI), 4 p.m., ESPN2
– Nov. 22, Texas Tech OR Creighton (neutral-site, Maui Invitational in Lahaina, HI), ESPN/2
– Nov. 23, TBD (neutral-site, Maui Invitational in Lahaina, HI), ESPN/2/U
– Nov. 28, Troy (home)
– Dec. 3, San Jose State (home)
– Dec. 6, North Carolina-Greensboro (home)
– Dec. 10, Oklahoma (neutral-site, Tulsa, Okla.), noon, ESPN2
– Dec. 17, Bradley (North Little Rock)
– Dec. 21, North Carolina-Asheville (home)
– Dec. 28, at LSU (road), 8 p.m., ESPN2/U
– Jan. 4, Missouri (home), 7:30 p.m., SECN
– Jan. 7, at Auburn (road), 7:30 p.m., SECN
– Jan. 11, Alabama (home), 6 p.m., ESPN2/U
– Jan. 14, at Vanderbilt (road), 1 p.m., ESPN2/U
– Jan. 18, at Missouri (road), 8 p.m., SECN
– Jan. 21, Ole Miss (home), 11 a.m., ESPN2
– Jan. 24, LSU (home), 6 p.m., ESPN/2/U
– Jan. 28, Baylor (road, Big 12/SEC Challenge in Waco, TX), 3 or 5 p.m., ESPN
– Jan. 31, Texas A&M (home), 6 p.m., ESPN/2/U
– Feb. 4, at South Carolina (road), 2:30 p.m., SECN
– Feb. 7, at Kentucky (road), 8 p.m., ESPN/2
– Feb. 11, Mississippi State (home), 5 p.m., ESPN2/U
– Feb. 15, at Texas A&M (road), 8 p.m., ESPN2/U
– Feb. 18, Florida (home), 1 p.m., ESPN2/U
– Feb. 21, Georgia (home), 8 p.m., SECN,
– Feb. 25, at Alabama (road), 1 or 3 p.m., ESPN/2
– Feb. 28, at Tennessee (road), 8 p.m., ESPN/2/U
– March 4, Kentucky (home), 1 p.m., CBS
What else we know regarding Arkansas’ ’22-23 schedule …
– For the first time in the past three seasons, Arkansas did not schedule an in-state NCAA Division 1 opponent.
– Arkansas can schedule one more exhibition game and/or secret practice against another school as long as the total amount of preseason exhibition events does not exceed two.
– Arkansas’ four-game summer European exhibition tour (Aug. 9-15) does not officially count as part of its ’22-23 exhibition-game allotment. The Hogs finished 4-0 with double-digit wins in each game — against Valencia Seleccion and Catalan Elite in Spain, and against Orange1 Basket Bassano and Bakken Bears in Italy.
“The schedule’s going to end up being pretty hard,” Musselman said during a press conference in mid-June. “It’s random, but I’m sure when the SEC schedule comes out they’ll be some really challenging games. I think when you’re able to make two Elite Eights, you’re going to end up with some non-conference games like we have. If you look at Maui and the field of Arizona, Cincinnati Creighton, Louisville, Ohio State, San Diego State, Texas Tech, you’ve got the game in Tulsa against Oklahoma. And we know how they kicked out butts last year in Tulsa. And then a Baylor road game, knowing that in that Challenge we’ve played really well at home over the last four years or whatever, maybe longer than that I guess, and struggled a little bit on the road. So that’s a challenging game.
“The three in Maui, the Oklahoma game and Baylor, that’s five really challenging non-conference games. But it’ll be good for us as well.”