Thursday Hodge Podge

Time Flies. It's hard to believe, but it was 10 years ago this month that the Hogs shocked us all by winning the 2000 SEC Tournament in Atlanta. After finishing the regular season at 15-14, Arkansas had no hope of snagging an at-large bid to the NCAA and seemingly no hope of securing the conference's automatic bid. But secure that automatic bid they did, by doing what only three other teams have done: win the SEC Tournament by winning four games. 

Some may be seeking parallels between that squad and this year's team, which can make the NCAA only by doing exactly what the 2000 Hogs did. But that team was more talented than this year's Razorback squad (it had Joe Johnson), and it compiled its lackluster record against much better competition (the Hogs' last six regular-season games that year, of which they won two, were against teams ranked in the Top 25). Still, where there's a game, there's hope.

Speaking of Feel-Good Stories. After starting the season with 14 consecutive road games and 11 straight losses, the Golden Lions of the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who have won nine of their last 11 games and now have a 15-15 record, are two wins away from snagging an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Go Golden Lions!

Cuckoo for Cal. Saying John Calipari has been well-received by the Wildcat faithful is like saying ... like saying ... uh ... uh, Wally, could you finish this sentence?

Anyway, the point is that Kentucky fans are enthusiastic about their new coach. Case in point: Maker's Mark has issued a limited-edition bottle bearing His Holiness' likeness. Second case in point: a Kentucky Ford dealership is offering five "Coach Cal" editions of the 2010 Roush Mustang. Hurry, supplies are limited.

Wanted: improved Anger Management Skills. It appears that Ky Madden, one of several Arkansas high-school hoopsters that Hog fans are hoping will lead the program back to the Promised Land, has a bit of a temper.

At Least He Got to See How Much He's Needed. Power forward Ricardo Ratliffe, ranked the No. 1 junior college player in the whole U.S. of A, was in Bud Walton last weekend to observe the Hogs' late-game meltdown against Ole Miss. According to this article, Arkansas is one of seven teams Ratliffe is considering. The others? Alabama, LSU, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina and Clemson.

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