Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Arkansas to play Valpo, Northern Kentucky in basketball
Northern Kentucky's Dantez Walton (32) reaches for a rebound as Texas Tech's Matt Mooney (13) defends during the first half of a first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Friday, March 22, 2019, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas will host Valparaiso and Northern Kentucky in the upcoming basketball season.
The game against Valparaiso will be played on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock as part of a men's and women's doubleheader. Arkansas' women will play Arkansas-Little Rock at Verizon Arena that afternoon.
A date has not been given for the home game against Northern Kentucky, but NKU coach Darrin Horn confirmed the game during a business luncheon Wednesday in Newport, Ky., according to a tweet from Don Owen, a reporter for Northern Kentucky Tribune.
Northern Kentucky was previously revealed by the Twitter account @TheD1Docket as one of six teams in the College Hoops Roadshow, a multi-site, on-campus exempt event that will also include Arkansas home games against Montana, Texas Southern and South Dakota. According to NCAA scheduling rules for exempt events, the Arkansas-NKU game would need to be played by Nov. 30.
Arkansas has never played Valparaiso or Northern Kentucky.
Valpo is coming off a 15-18 season in which the Crusaders went 7-11 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Valpo is losing its leading scorer from last season, but returns senior guard/forward Ryan Fazekas (11.8 points per game) and sophomore guard Javon Freeman-Liberty (11 points per game).
Matt Lottich is in his fifth season as head coach of the Crusaders.
Horn, who previously was head coach at South Carolina for four seasons until 2012, is entering his first season as head coach at Northern Kentucky. The Norse are coming off a 26-9 season in which they won the Horizon League and lost to Texas Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
NKU must replace its leading scorer, but returns three starters - senior guard Tyler Sharpe (14.4), junior guard/forward Jalen Tate (13.7) and senior forward Dantez Walton (11.1) - who averaged double-figure points per game last season.
Arkansas has not released its schedule, but the Razorbacks' 13 nonconference opponents have been learned through other schedule releases or reports.
Arkansas 2019-20 Nonconference Basketball Schedule
Nov. 5 — Rice (season opener)
Nov. 12 — North Texas
Nov. 16 — Montana
Nov. 19 — Texas Southern
Nov. 22 — South Dakota
Nov. 25 — at Georgia Tech
Dec. 3 — Austin Peay
Dec. 7 — at Western Kentucky
Dec. 14 — Tulsa
Dec. 21 — Valparaiso (North Little Rock)
Dec. 29 — at Indiana
Jan. 25 — TCU (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
TBA — Northern Kentucky
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