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FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas and Oklahoma meet tonight at Bud Walton Arena, but it doesn’t have the same appeal as when these two storied basketball programs have met in the past.
Both programs have come upon hard times in the last couple of years. Following a trip to the Elite Eight two seasons ago, Oklahoma failed to make the postseason last season and lost several of its top players following the season.
Arkansas has had back-to-back losing campaigns and has failed to draw more than 7,000 fans to an on-campus game this year.
Despite coming back from seven points down with just more than a minute to play last Friday, the Razorbacks were unable to beat Alabama-Birmingham, falling 70-65 in overtime at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. It was an ugly game for Arkansas (3-1), which shot 38 percent from the floor, including 3 of 21 from 3-point range.
The Sooners (3-3) are coming off a week-long break after losing three straight in their trip to the Maui Invitational last week to Kentucky, Virginia and Division-II host school Chaminade. It’s is a young team, and as Bob Holt pointed out in this morning’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Oklahoma has just one senior and nine newcomers this year.
“Any win for us right now would be big,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said earlier this week.
The match-up is the last in the current four-year agreement between the two schools, though Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey said he wouldn’t rule out the border rivals renewing the series next season.
Arkansas leads the all-time series 13-11, though Oklahoma has won six of the last seven meetings, including a 67-47 win last year.