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This Arkansas Basketball Team Doesn't Do Anything The Easy Way

Of course the NCAA Tournament bid is coming down to the wire. Of course they blew a chance to lock up their spot in Tuscaloosa. If this team can find a way to make something difficult, they do, but they've been able to make it work out lately.

Everything is a challenge
Everything is a challenge
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

This is an excerpt of a column I wrote for Sporting Life Arkansas as we get ready for Arkansas' first meaningful SEC Tournament in half a decade. You can read the entire column here.

I don’t know why. I don’t know how. But these Hogs have seemingly been determined all season to take anything possible down to the last second. It’s uncanny, really.

There were 126 SEC basketball games played this year. Twenty-seven of those games were determined by four points or fewer or went to overtime. Of those 27 games, Arkansas was involved in eight. That’s nearly 30%. Nearly a third of all close games in the SEC this season involved Arkansas. Think about that. There are 14 teams in this conference.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration games in which the Razorbacks led, but allowed their opponents to make second-half runs to turn what looked like blowouts into pretty close games.

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It’s been nearly a month since the loss at Missouri, which is also the last time the Razorbacks lost one of those close games. Since then, they’ve gotten out of every jam they’ve gotten into, and they seem to like getting into them.

So it comes as no surprise that, facing a game that might have clinched their spot in the NCAA Tournament, the team played its worst half of the year (Mike Anderson said it might be the worst half he’s ever been associated with) against what’s really a pretty bad Alabama team. Winning would have made everything too easy. It might have meant avoiding the "First Round" in Dayton. I don’t know if this team would have known what to do with such a luxury.

Several times this season people have asked if a particular game was a "must win" game. For the first time this season we can definitively say yes.

And this team wouldn't have it any other way.

Read the entire column here.