HOUSTON – College basketball fans in Houston will be treated to a holiday feast when Texas A&M battles Arizona and Texas plays Arkansas in a nationally televised doubleheader on Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Toyota Center. The event is managed by Kentucky-based sports marketing firm bd Global.
“To pair up old rivals Texas and Arkansas will be a great game for basketball fans in Houston, and then to add in a marquee matchup featuring the Aggies and Arizona will undoubtedly make this the best doubleheader in all of college basketball this season,” said Brooks Downing, president of bd Global (www.bdglobalsports.com), the event promoter.
Arizona, A&M and Texas all played in last season’s NCAA Tournament while Arkansas is predicted to contend with A&M for the Southeastern Conference title in 2017.
“I’m excited to play one of the top programs in college basketball.,” said Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy. “It will be a great challenge for our young team. We look forward to playing in Houston, with the Toyota Center full of Aggies.”
Last season was a breakthrough year for Kennedy’s squad. The Aggies won 28 games, took home a share of the SEC regular-season title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. The Aggies will be led by sophomore center Tyler Davis, an SEC All-Freshman Team performer in 2015-16.
Arizona, a college basketball blueblood, has experienced a renaissance under Coach Sean Miller. The Wildcats have won 25+ games in each of the past four seasons which has included four NCAA Tournament appearances and two Elite Eight finishes. Standout guard Allonzo Trier elected to bypass the NBA Draft and return for his sophomore season. He will receive help from a top-five recruiting class, which includes top-25 prospects Kobi Simmons and Rawle Alkins.
Texas made immediate strides last season under first-year coach Shaka Smart by finishing with 20 wins and earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. A strong incoming freshman class ranked No. 11 nationally will bolster the Longhorns. The class is led by top-30 prospects Jarrett Allen and Andrew Jones.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” said Smart. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.”
Arkansas looks to rebound following last year’s 16-16 finish. The Razorbacks return their top two scorers from a year ago in seniors Moses Kingsley and Dusty Hannahs and adds three of the top six junior college players in the country. Kingsley recently participated in the Nike Basketball Academy, a prestigious five-day event with the top-20 college players in the country.
Tickets ranging from $20 – $400 (courtside seating), not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Friday, Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. CT online at www.HoustonToyotaCenter.com, by phone at 1-866-4-HOU-TIX and at select Houston area Randalls locations. Tickets also will be available at the Toyota Center Box Office beginning Monday, Aug. 29 at 9 a.m. (based on availability).
Complete event information can be found at www.hoopsinhouston.com or follow on Twitter at @LoneStarBKB. For group sales or sponsorship opportunities, interested parties should contact bd Global at 859-951-6141.