Arkansas To Meet Rice, Texas Tech In Basketball

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' basketball schedule is not yet ready for release, but tentative plans call for the Razorbacks to play former Southwest Conference opponents Rice and Texas Tech, with Houston also a possibility.

The Rice game is penciled for Alltel Arena in North Little Rock on Dec. 17. Texas Tech and Arkansas would meet at American Airlines Center in Dallas, in a game tentatively set to be televised by ESPN2 on Dec. 21.

Texas Tech would return the game the next season, playing Arkansas at Alltel Arena during the 2006-07 season.

Houston, under former Texas coach Tom Penders, might be willing to play at Arkansas this season as part of a home-and-home series.

Other proposed nonconference home games for Arkansas this season include Texas State, coached by Dennis Nutt, and Missouri. Both of those would be played at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, but the Texas State game has not been finalized.

It was announced three weeks ago that Arkansas would meet Connecticut in the first round of the Maui Classic on No. 21 at 10:30 p.m. CST, with ESPN2 televising the game.

The Razorbacks will play either Arizona or Kansas in the second round at Maui on Nov. 22, and will also play on Nov. 23 against either Michigan State, Maryland, Gonzaga or Chaminade.

Arkansas assistant coach Dan Hipsher, who is helping UA head coach Stan Heath with the Razorbacks' schedule this season, said on Thursday, "Scheduling is tough. We've talked to teams from the ACC, Big East, Big 10 and Pac-10. We're playing two from the Big 12 (Missouri, Texas Tech) and at least one from Conference USA (Rice)."

The Razorbacks also had an interest in playing teams such as Minnesota, Ohio State, Syracuse and Wake Forest, but most teams at that level, with big arenas, are looking for home games first.

"The whole thing is skewed, because the top-end teams are all buying guaranteed games like we do," Hipsher said. "They have to play a lot of home games. To play home-and-home series, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and go to their place first."

Arkansas has talked with both Oklahoma and Texas about starting four-year series with either or both in the future, ideally playing one of the teams at home and the other on the road in those seasons.

"We would definitely like to play both of those teams," said UA athletic director Frank Broyles. "But we're just talking to them; we haven't even started negotiating yet."

UA head coach Stan Heath was in Florida on Thursday and unavailable for comment.

Broyles said he met with Hipsher on Thursday morning and the two men discussed three possible opponents for Arkansas this season.

The schedule won't be finalized until the TV agreements are worked out.

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