FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas men’s basketball team confirmed its first game of the 2011-12 schedule on Thursday with the release of the Big East/SEC Challenge lineup and the Razorbacks will go on the road to face defending national champion UConn on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Game time and location are to be determined as the Huskies play regular season home games at both Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn., and the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
"Playing against the defending National Champions on their home court is the ultimate challenge," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "This is a great opportunity and allows us to find out a lot about our team early in the year."
The Big East/SEC Challenge is in its fifth season, but the first under a new format that allows all 12 SEC teams to play against 12 Big East squads in the same season at home venues. Previous challenges saw just eight schools from each conference play in any given year and games were contested at neutral sites.
Arkansas’ participation in the Big East/SEC Challenge is its second game in the event. The Razorbacks took down the Seton Hall Pirates last season in Louisville, Ky., 71-62. Delvon Johnson led the Razorbacks in the contest with a near triple-double when he scored 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had a career-best eight blocked shots. Julysses Nobles came off the bench for Arkansas and led the Razorbacks in scoring with 19 points.
The meeting between Arkansas and Connecticut is the third all-time and the first since the 2005-06 season. The two squads first met during the 1996-97 season in the third-place game of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in New York City, then at the Maui Invitational in 2005-06. The Huskies prevailed in both contests, 74-64 in the first meeting and 77-68 in the most recent contest.
For Arkansas, it is the first time that it has played the defending national champion since the 2007-08 season when it faced Florida at Bud Walton Arena and its first road game against a sitting national championship squad since Arkansas played the same Florida team in 2006-07.