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Good Night, Game Over, Drive Home Safely

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That's the phrase that came to mind when reading this excellent Slophouse post, in which Dem.-Gaz. online editor Brandon Marcello shows what an uphill climb Arkansas faces just to snag a measly 'ole NIT bid. I think many Hog fans, myself included, have long felt that an overall .500 record would be enough to receive an invite to the junior varsity version of March Madness. Considering the schedule ahead, though, the Razorbacks are going to be extremely hard-pressed to do that.

And if they were to defy the odds and finish right at .500, that's probably not going to be enough to persuade the folks who run the NIT, Marcello notes. For one thing, all of last year's NIT teams had records over .500. For another, Arkansas' robust RPI ranking of 143 doesn't compare favorably - not at all - with those of the final teams selected for last year's tournament.

Way back when, when the Hogs were sitting alone atop the SEC West with a very surprising 7-4 conference record and had games against Auburn and LSU on the horizon, I believed an NIT bid was virtually in the bag. Not the most exciting thing in the world, perhaps, but I was fairly jazzed about it. I thought an appearance in the tournament would have represented signifcant progress from last year's 2-14 conference debacle. And given the way the Hogs were playing at that time, I thought Arkansas had a chance to do some damage in the NIT and generate some positive momentum for next year.

Oh well. There's always the prestigious CBI and CollegeInsider.com tournaments. Who's up for hosting the watching party if the Hogs appear in one of those? I'll bring the guacamole dip.