Anderson: Arkansas, Memphis working to renew series

By: Matt Jones
Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson applauds his team against Seton Hall during the first half in a first-round game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Greenville, S.C., Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson applauds his team against Seton Hall during the first half in a first-round game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Greenville, S.C., Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

— Arkansas and Memphis are attempting to schedule a basketball game for the 2018-19 season, Razorbacks coach Mike Anderson said Wednesday during an interview on the Jason & John radio show in Memphis.

"Hopefully we can get something started for next year," Anderson said. "We weren't able to get it in there for this (upcoming season).

"It's one that I think is an ideal, great matchup; bordering states and not only that, but the games of the past. It's always been a great series."

The programs haven't played since Jan. 2, 2003, after former Memphis coach John Calipari said the Tigers no longer needed to play the Razorbacks.

"We have to play national games," Calipari told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2002. "You can't play all regional games if you're being a national program. We don't need Arkansas to sell out our building."

Arkansas and Memphis were once considered regional rivals. The programs played 12 consecutive regular seasons between 1991-92 and their final meeting, and also met twice in the NCAA Tournament during the '90s.

Memphis upset Arkansas in the second round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament. The Razorbacks beat the Tigers in the 1995 Sweet 16 round en route to a national runner-up finish.

Arkansas leads the all-time series 11-10.

After taking over last year, Memphis coach Tubby Smith said he was open to renewing series against regional opponents like Arkansas and Tennessee. Anderson said he and Smith, a longtime friend, have discussed a series renewal since Smith took the job.

Smith's predecessor, Josh Pastner, also refused to schedule regional opponents for fear it would give them a recruiting advantage in the city. Pastner was an assistant for Calipari at Memphis.

"We love Memphis players," Anderson said. "We had three players on our team that were from Memphis when we won a national championship (in 1994).

"It's just a great history. We have Razorback fans that live there and obviously Memphis is a great basketball (town). You think about great basketball schools and great basketball stories.

"As a regional game, I think it's one that brings a great attention nationwide."

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