Sitting at 4-2 in the SEC and fallen to #5 in the country after losing in Starkville, it's clear the Hogs weren't playing their best basketball a month in the first month of SEC play.
The Hogs played what may have been their worst game of the season in Knoxville on January 29th. Tennessee finished the year 5-22 overall and 2-14 in the SEC. They were awful. Surely the greatest Razorback team of them all wouldn't have any trouble against such a weak opponent, right?
Well, the Vols actually led 62-60 with 2:12 left. It's one of the ugliest box scores you'll see from Arkansas that year. Corliss Williamson only scored nine points. Scotty Thurman only scored seven. The team was led by Corey Beck with 15 and Davor Rimac (!) with 12. But fortunately for Arkansas, three of Thurman's seven points came in the closing seconds:
The Razorbacks (14-2, 5-2), trailing by 64-62 with 22 seconds to go and out of timeouts, got the ball to Thurman, who made an open 3 from the left wing. Tennessee called time out to set up a play, but Ed Gray's 3-point attempt in traffic at the buzzer was deflected by Corliss Williamson.
A little foreshadowing from Scotty? Perhaps.
And that's how the Razorbacks avoided an ugly loss that may have cost them their 1-seed.
A few days later and now ranked #6, Arkansas returned home to host a respected Vanderbilt that actually started the year ranked, but was 10-6 by the time they traveled to Bud Walton Arena.
It was a rather routine victory for the Hogs, highlighted by a 19-0 run at one point. Williamson returned to form, posting 24 and six. Arkansas got some help from Roger Crawford with 16 points and Al Dillard with 13. Thurman scored 10.
Vanderbilt's Ronnie McMahan had a big game with 26 points on 10-18 shooting, but it wasn't nearly enough to topple the Razorbacks.
For some reason, Arkansas scheduled a non-conference game against Montevallo on February 5th. It was a giant blowout as you might expect. The Razorbacks doubled them up, winning 131-63. Seven Hogs scored in double figures, led by 21 from Thurman.
Ok, so we'll take a wild stab at why the Hogs may have scheduled that game. They took a trip to Lexington on February 9th and the Montevallo game allowed them to get a little rest.
Did it work? We'll check in on the game against the Wildcats next week.