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.
Razorbacks will open basketball season vs. Rice
Eric Musselman speaks at a press conference after his introduction as the new head coach of men's basketball at the University of Arkansas by Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek Monday, April 8, 2019 in Bud Walton Arena on the campus in Fayetteville. During the previous four seasons, Musselman coached the University of Nevada in Reno to a 110-34 record.
FAYETTEVILLE The first game of the Eric Musselman era at Arkansas will be against Rice.
The Razorbacks are scheduled to host the Owls on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at Bud Walton Arena, according to a game contract obtained Friday through an open records request. A game time has not been determined. The game was finalized last week.
Arkansas and Rice are former Southwest Conference members and have played 141 times, but not since the Razorbacks defeated the Owls 80-61 on Dec. 17, 2005, in North Little Rock.
They have not played in Fayetteville since the Razorbacks' final season in the SWC in 1991, and Rice has never played a game at Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas leads the series 101-40.
Nov. 5 is the earliest date that teams can play regular-season games this year, and will be the earliest start date ever for the Razorbacks.
Rice finished 13-19 overall and 8-10 in Conference USA last season under second-year head coach Scott Pera.
Musselman and Pera have a connection as former assistant coaches under Herb Sendek at Arizona State. Musselman was one of two assistants hired by Sendek in 2012 after Pera and another assistant coach left for other jobs.
The Owls return two of their three leading scorers from last season in senior forward Robert Martin (12.2 points per game) and senior guard Ako Adams (11.2).
Rice is the fifth known nonconference opponent and fourth known nonconference date in the upcoming season for Arkansas. The Razorbacks are scheduled to host North Texas on Nov. 12 and play at Georgia Tech on Nov. 25, and are under contract to return games at Indiana and Western Kentucky.
Arkansas will also play in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 25, but matchups have not been announced yet by the conferences.
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