After Arkansas’ win over Mississippi State Saturday, everything is falling in line for the Hogs to have a chance at a postseason bid.
The Razorbacks defeated Mississippi State in Starkville, 73-69. Sophomore Anthlon Bell led Arkansas with 19 points. Good to see Bell getting minutes and being productive. The Arkansas defense also forced 16 turnovers, a huge key factor in the win. Arkansas has now won five of their last six games.
With the Hogs win Saturday, they move to 18-9 and 7-7 in the SEC. They are now tied for fourth in the SEC with six other teams. Out of those six teams, Missouri is the only team with more wins than Arkansas, by one win.
Arkansas’ remaining four games include Kentucky on the road, Georgia at home, Ole Miss at home and Alabama on the road. Kentucky is a huge game for Arkansas, if they win this the NCAA tournament may not be out of reach, but they are still going to have to win against Georgia, Ole Miss, and Alabama as well (which is very doable), as well as make a run in the SEC tournament.
Of course Arkansas has some losses that are going to haunt them come selection time. The loss against Texas A&M is a big one. But, losses against Florida, Missouri (twice), Georgia and Tennessee might be the deciding factor.
If Arkansas wins against Florida and Georgia, they would have wins over current top three teams in the SEC, including their win over Kentucky. The two losses against Missouri are starting to look bad because Missouri is getting beat by teams at the bottom of the standings. The same thing goes for the loss against Tennessee.
Arkansas will have a chance to get wins over the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the SEC this week.
Arkansas needs for bubble teams in the SEC such as Missouri, Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss and Georgia to keep losing. But none of this is going to play in Arkansas favor unless Arkansas wins their final games.
These final four games are important for Arkansas but so is the SEC tournament. Arkansas has got to get a least two wins in the SEC tournament to have a chance to see the NCAA tournament. Of course, winning the SEC tournament is an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which would be great but not likely to happen.
Although, the NCAA tournament is still unlikely for the Hogs, the way things played out in the SEC this weekend still gave them a shot.
Another year without Arkansas in the NCAA tournament will be disappointing. The last time the Hogs made the big dance was 2008. If Arkansas can finish the season strong, they will most likely find themselves playing in the NIT.
A spot in the NIT will be good for Arkansas. First of all, it’s a postseason spot that they haven’t seen in years. Second, it gives them motivation for next season to want to play in the NCAA tournament. Finally, it shows that Arkansas has in fact improved this season.
The outcome of Arkansas’ season is in the teams hand, they control their own destiny.