After three straight trips to the Sweet 16, including Elite Eight appearances in 2021 and 2022, the newest version of the Arkansas basketball team will officially hit the home court Monday night at 7 p.m. to host Alcorn State.
The No. 14 Razorbacks won both of their exhibition games, including an 81-77 overtime win over No. 3 Purdue in Bud Walton Arena on Oct. 28.
Now, Arkansas opens the regular season against a Braves team that has won the past two Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) regular-season championships. The Razorbacks are 5-0 all-time against Alcorn State, all played in Fayetteville.
This is the second time Arkansas has hosted the Braves in a season opener, dating back to the 2009-10 season, when the Hogs won 130-68 and Rotnei Clarke scored a school-record 51 points in the win, while making an SEC-record 13 of 17 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Alcorn finished 18-14 last season and won the conference with a 15-3 mark, before losing to North Texas in the NIT. They are projected to finish third in the SWAC this season under fourth-year head coach Landon Bussie, who is 41-44 with the Braves.
They are a solid opening opponent for the Razorbacks, but the game will not likely be very close, as Arkansas is favored by 23 points. The Braves do return 6-foot-7 senior forward Jeremiah Kendall, a preseason first-team All-SWAC selection, who averaged 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season.
Arkansas went 22-14 overall and 13-3 at home last season, shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from 3-point range in Bud Walton. The Razorbacks have won 49 straight home openers, dating back to 1974-75, and are a perfect 30-0 in the Bud for home openers.