NORFOLK, Va. (ODU Athletic Communications) – The Old Dominion men's basketball team will take on Arkansas on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., ODU head coach Jeff Jones announced on Thursday. This will mark the first ever meeting between the Monarchs and the Razorbacks.
Simmons Bank Arena, an 18,000-seat venue that opened in 1999, has hosted the Arkansas basketball program at least once each year since the 1999-2000 season, giving the Razorbacks a chance to play annually in Arkansas's capital city, about 180 miles from the Fayetteville campus.
"We are excited for the opportunity to play Arkansas in Little Rock next season," said Jones. "Arkansas has a great tradition and a passionate fan base. We look forward to the challenge."
Arkansas is among the national leaders in basketball attendance. Last season, the Razorbacks finished eighth in the country for accumulated attendance (294,262), which was an average of 15,487 fans per home game.
The ODU/Arkansas showdown will mark the 25th time that Monarchs have squared-off against a program from the Southeastern Conference. The last time ODU played against an opponent from the SEC was Nov. 24, 2016, when the Monarchs fell to LSU, as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Old Dominion returns its top six scorers from the 2019-20 season, while Coach Jones' 510 career wins as a college head coach ranks 24th among active division I head coaches.
This Dec. 19 matchup will feature two veteran coaches, as Eric Musselman has more than 500 wins at the pro level, including serving as head coach of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. Mussleman led the Razorbacks to 20 wins in his first season at Arkansas in 2019-20, while his team has recorded 20 or more wins in each of his five seasons as a collegiate head coach. Mussleman came from Nevada after leading the Wolf Pack to three straight NCAA tournaments.
Musselman took over at Arkansas for Mike Anderson, who became the head coach at St. John's. Under Anderson's leadership, the Razorbacks were in the NCAA Tournament three times in his final five years.
The Razorbacks' storied history is highlighted by six NCAA Final Four appearances, as well as the 1994 National Championship under coach Nolan Richardson.
In early 2020-21 preseason polls, ESPN has the Razorbacks ranked No. 20, while CBS Sports ranks the Hogs No. 23. Arkansas rising senior, Mason Jones, led the SEC in scoring last year with 22.0 points per game and was an honorable mention Associated Press All-American. As a team, Arkansas led the NCAA in three-point defense in 2019-20, limiting opponents to a 27.2% connection rate from deep.