Men’s college basketball: K-State will play Arkansas in 2021 Hall of Fame Classic

Wildcats

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) – For the first time in nearly 30 years, Kansas State and Arkansas will meet on the hardwood, as the schools will face each other in the semifinals of the 21st annual Hall of Fame Classic on Monday, November 22 at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

The game will be the second of a semifinal doubleheader on November 22 at the Hall of Fame Classic and will air on ESPN2 with a scheduled tipoff of 8 p.m., CT or 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first semifinal game between Cincinnati and Illinois, which is set to tip at 5:30 p.m., CT on ESPNU.

The tournament’s final day on Tuesday, November 23 will tipoff on 6 p.m., CT with the consolation game on ESPNews and will be followed by the championship game at 8:30 p.m., CT on ESPN2.

K-State and Arkansas will meet for the 12th time in 2021 and the first time since 1991 in a series that dates nearly 75 years and includes a pair of NCAA Tournament matchups in 1980 and 1982. The teams last met on December 10, 1991, when the Razorbacks completed the sweep of a home-and-home series (1990 and 1991) with a 70-59 win over the Wildcats at Bramlage Coliseum.

This will be the third such meeting between the schools in Kansas City with the series beginning with a 56-41 victory by K-State in the Big Six Holiday Tournament at Municipal Auditorium on December 14, 1946. The two teams would meet again 34 years later at Kemper Arena with the Wildcats escaping in overtime, 47-46, on December 27, 1980.

Overall, K-State owns an 8-3 advantage in the all-time series, including a 5-0 mark at neutral sites (2-0 in Kansas City, 1-0 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 1-0 in Lincoln, Nebraska, 1-0 in Dallas).

Arkansas is expected to return another strong team in 2021-22 under head coach Eric Musselman after winning 25 games and advancing to its first Elite Eight in more than 25 years a season ago. The Razorbacks are listed among the Top 25 in a number of preseason polls, including No. 13 in ESPN’s “Way-Too-Early” Top 25 poll.

K-State will play either Cincinnati or Illinois on day two of the tournament on November 23. The Fighting Illini won 24 games and earned their first No. 1 seed since 2005 under K-State alum and head coach Brad Underwood, while the Bearcats have won 20 or more games 10 times in the last 11 seasons.

The Hall of Fame Classic has historically one of the most impressive fields with all four schools (Arkansas, Cincinnati, K-State and Illinois) ranking in the Top 20 for all-time NCAA Tournament appearances – combining for 128 – with each advancing to 31 or more such appearances in their respective histories.

This will be the third time that K-State has participated in the Hall of Fame Classic, advancing to the championship game in its previous two appearances before falling to Top 10 foes Duke (2010) and North Carolina (2015). The Wildcats won each of their semifinal matchups against Gonzaga (2010) and Missouri (2015).

The Hall of Fame Classic was created by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 2001 as the Guardians Classic and was later known as the CBE Classic and the CBE Hall of Fame Classic before being rebranded as the Hall of Fame Classic in 2017. The two-day tournament is part of Kansas City’s Hall of Fame Weekend, which also includes the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 induction celebration.

Big 12 teams have won the Hall of Fame Classic nine times in its 20-year history, including four times in the last five seasons. TCU won the 2020 edition of the tournament, knocking off Tulsa and Liberty.

(K-State Athletics contributed information to this article.)

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