Arkansas and St. John's (N.Y.) have been added to the Gophers men's basketball schedule for the 2016-17 season.
The Gophers will play a home-and-home series with Arkansas that begins at Williams Arena this winter, with the date yet to be set. They will meet the following season in Fayetteville, Ark., sources confirmed.
The Gophers will play host to St. John's in the second season of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual series to be played between Big Ten and Big East schools, on Nov. 18. The teams last met in 2014 in a Gophers victory at Madison Square Garden in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Gophers are making their first appearance in the Gavitt Games, which debuted last season. Only eight games are played between the conferences each year, meaning not all Big Ten and Big East teams participate in a given season.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino said in April he was finalizing a home-and-home series with a power-conference team that he believed would entice fans, along with a potential Big East matchup.
"You're looking at potentially two nonconference opponents at home that I know would get people excited at the Barn," said Pitino, entering his fourth season. "Scheduling is something I think everyone tries to figure out … there are so many components that go into it. But we want our guys ready for the Big Ten obviously."
In coach Chris Mullin's first season, St. John's finished with the same number of victories (eight) and one more loss (24) than the Gophers while enduring a 16-game losing streak. The Red Storm is expected to improve next season, but highly regarded transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark (Michigan State) won't be eligible until the fall of 2017.
Arkansas went 16-16, the fourth time in coach Mike Anderson's five seasons that the team failed to make the NCAA tournament. Arkansas beat the Gophers 87-73 in the Maui Invitational during Pitino's first season.