Nate Allen

With the date and time still to be set,  Coach Kim Mulkey’s Baylor Bears, the 2019 national women’s basketball  champions will visit Coach Mike Neighbors’ Razorbacks as part of the SEC/Big 12 Women’s Challenge.

Baylor still reigns as college basketball’s national champion since measures to curb the coronavirus cancelled the 2020 NCAA Tournament.

Nationally third-ranked Big 12 champion Baylor, 28-2, would have rated a strong contender against nationally No. 1 SEC champion South Carolina, 32-1,  had the tournament been played.

The tournament would have included  nationally 24th-ranked Arkansas, 24-8 and a 10-6 third in the SEC and SEC Tournament semifinalist beating Auburn and nationally No. 15 Texas A&M before losing to SEC Tourney champion South Carolina.

Arkansas’ 2020-2021 potential presumably figured in landing a marquee matchup that Baylor brings to the SEC vs. Big 12 Challenge.

“This is a reflection of what they have done the last three years,” fourth-year Arkansas Coach Neighbors said. “This game isn’t even an option if our fans had not been supporting us in the way they have the last three seasons.”

That reward obviously now comes with a supreme challenge.

““Being the reigning and three-time national champion pretty much sums it up,” Neighbors said.  “And then on top of it all, you have Hall of Fame Coach Kim Mulkey coming into Bud Walton. If that doesn’t get our fans excited, we need to check on them. We promised this group of kids they would play against the best if they would come to Arkansas, and playing against a national power like Baylor helps us deliver on that promise.  We know it’s an incredible challenge that early in the season, but this game will prepare us for what promises to be the toughest SEC gauntlet there has been in the last decade.”

The other SEC vs. Big 12 Women’s Challenge games include South Carolina at Iowa State’

Kentucky  at  Kansas State, the  team that Arkansas defeated in last season’s SEC vs. Big 12 Challenge;  Alabama at Oklahoma State; Texas A&M atTexas; Tennessee at West Virginia;  Kansas at Ole Miss; Oklahoma at  Georgia;  TCU at Missouri; and Texas Tech at Vanderbilt.

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