By ROBBIE NEISWANGER
Arkansas News Bureau
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas released half of its 2011-12 basketball schedule Monday, unveiling a 15-game nonconference slate that featured games against Connecticut, Michigan, Oklahoma and Oakland.
The remaining 16 games were put in place by the Southeastern Conference three days later.
The SEC released the full conference schedule Thursday, completing Arkansas’ roadmap for its first season under new coach Mike Anderson. The 31-game season includes six games televised on one of ESPN’s networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) and eight games against teams that played in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
"I am gad to finally have our schedule," Anderson said in a statement released by the Razorbacks. "The non-conference schedule will allow our team to develop right before our fans eyes. It also presents challenges for our basketball team as it prepares for SEC play. Our home schedule allows our fans to see and get involved with Razorback basketball. Our fans are the best in the country and make Bud Walton Arena one of the toughest venues to play in, with their support we are going to make it even tougher."
Arkansas’ SEC season will begin with a home game against Mississippi State on Jan. 7 and end against the Bulldogs in Starkville, Miss., on March 3. In between, Arkansas has seven other home games including nationally televised dates against Vanderbilt (Jan. 31 on ESPN), Florida (Feb. 18 on ESPN or ESPN2) and Alabama (Feb. 23 on ESPN or ESPN2).
The Florida game features the return of former Arkansas coach John Pelphrey, who was fired last spring after four seasons in Fayetteville. He is now an assistant on Florida coach Billy Donovan’s staff.
The Razorbacks also will play nationally televised games against Connecticut (Dec. 3 on ESPN), Kentucky (Jan. 17 on ESPN) and Ole Miss (Feb. 28 on ESPNU).
The most challenging stretch in conference play comes in late February, when the Hogs have three games in six days. The stretch includes games against Alabama (Feb. 23), at Auburn (Feb. 25) and Ole Miss (Feb. 28).