Despite their best efforts, the Razorbacks are still alive according to the most recent ESPN and CBS Bracketology projections.
Released after the Tennessee loss, CBS has Arkansas as one of the play-in teams to earn an 11-seed, and would play Louisville in the first round if they defeated Providence in Dayton. ESPN still lists the Hogs as one of the First Four Out, and there's still 13 SEC games to go before the SEC Tournament.
How is this possible? Why don't the bracketologists know, as most Hog fans do, that Razorback basketball is an epic disaster, doomed until the next savior coach comes to Fayetteville?
The answer is pretty simple, actually:
- The SEC isn't as bad as the national narrative would have you believe. While the last few seasons have featured multiple SEC teams with 200+ RPIs, as of right now, the worst SEC RPI is Auburn at 182. Everybody else is in the top 140. So, while road losses at Texas A&M and Georgia feel disgusting, they're really not that bad. And losing at Tennessee doesn't really hurt the resume at all (but, yes, a win would have been big). It also means Arkansas has 0 losses to RPI 150+ teams, which is obviously good. And an improvement from last year.
- Minnesota is doing Arkansas a lot of favors by proving to be a pretty solid team. The Gophers have recently beaten both Wisconsin and Ohio State, shooting their RPI up to 19. They're currently the highest-rated RPI team the Hogs faced in Maui, and beating them on a neutral floor is paying dividends.
- The win against Kentucky (RPI 12) was obviously huge, but don't ignore the wins over SMU (RPI 43) and Clemson (74). Both of those teams have gone on to some pretty big wins since losing to Arkansas, all helping the Hogs' resume.
So there you have it. The Hogs are very much alive for a postseason bid. Yes, of course, they'll have to win some road games to get there, and that will be the constant refrain until the team wins some, but they do still have six more opportunities this season, and only the game at Lexington is intimidating.
I'll go ahead and say it. People like me who bashed the non-conference schedule were both right and wrong. Actually, the November schedule was pretty good. But the December schedule, woof.
But right now, skip ahead to the 1:04 mark of this clip.
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