It’s become a clear pattern that Mike Anderson (and most college coaches) will base their schedule’s toughness on how good they think their team will be. Based on this non-conference slate, Anderson is pretty high on his team. Arkansas released their 13 game schedule and there is a good mix of big names and sneaky good mid major teams. Here is the schedule for the Hogs this year.
- Nov. 10th vs Samford
- Nov. 12th vs Bucknell
- Nov. 17th vs Fresno State
- Nov. 23rd vs Oklahoma (PK80 in Portland)
- Nov. 24th vs North Carolina/Portland (PK80 in Portland)
- Nov. 26th vs UConn/Michigan St/Oregon/DePaul
- Dec. 2nd at Houston
- Dec. 5th vs Colorado State
- Dec. 9th vs Minnesota
- Dec. 16th vs Troy (In Little Rock)
- Dec. 19th vs Oral Roberts
- Dec. 27th vs CSU Bakersfield
- Jan. 27th vs Oklahoma State
The Hogs are going to play teams with experience, and teams that know how to win. Arkansas is guaranteed to play nine games against teams that won 20 games in 2016 and that could grow to 11 if the results in the PK80 Tournament go right.
The one negative that sticks out is only having one true road game, although the tournament in Portland will make for some good RPI games unless the tournament turns into a disaster with losses against Portland and DePaul. Although lack of road success in the non conference schedule didn’t hurt the Hogs, last year the Hogs got smashed in their two true road games. They get the opportunity to exact some revenge against Minnesota and Oklahoma State.
In addition to the power conference teams, Arkansas has a challenging group of mid majors coming to Arkansas. Bucknell and Troy made the NCAA Tournament. CSU Bakersfield and Colorado State both won games in the NIT.
Arkansas is challenging themselves this season, but they should do well. The Hogs have three major departures in Moses Kingsley, Dusty Hannahs and Manny Watkins, but they’re replacing them with the 34th ranked recruiting class in the country. That doesn’t sound outstanding but is a much better ranking in basketball than football. North Carolina, Oregon, and Oklahoma are the only teams on the non-conference schedule recruiting better than the Hogs.
Arkansas will play 12 of these games once SEC play starts with the Oklahoma State matchup coming later. The Hogs will certainly be challenged, but 8-9 wins is doable and will set the Hogs up with a nice RPI going into conference play.