Despite one of the most dominant performances against another SEC team in Razorback history, Arkansas is still on the good side of the bubble heading into Saturday’s game against Alabama.
According to the RPI ratings on ESPN’s Bracketology page (I’m not sure why these aren’t standard across every site), the victory over Ole Miss is Arkansas’ eighth victory over a top-100 team. It would be the ninth, but Vanderbilt has faltered a bit and dropped to number 101. Arkansas is barely in the top-50 at number 47.
But with so many games already played this season, I think the most important thing for Arkansas is not whether prior opponents are winning or losing, because short of a neutral court victory over Florida in the SEC Tournament, I’m not sure Arkansas’ RPI is going to drastically change from here on out. The best thing for Arkansas right now, obviously in addition to continue winning, is for other bubble teams to lose.
Razorback fans should definitely be hoping teams like Oregon, BYU, Xavier, St. Joseph’s, Colorado, Pittsburgh, and Stanford. Those are all the teams currently ahead of Arkansas with a 10 or 11-seed in Joe Lunardi’s bracket.
Lunardi still has Arkansas as the first team in his "Last Four In" list, meaning he has the Hogs playing in Dayton against Nebraska for the right to be an 11-seed against...Texas in San Antonio. I’m sure nobody would enjoy that at all.
Jerry Palm has the Hogs as an 11-seed playing against Ohio State in Raleigh.
SB Nation’s Chris Dobbertean also has the Razorbacks as an 11-seed in Raleigh, but he has Arkansas facing UConn in the first round, with the winner of that game taking on the winner of the Duke/Delaware game. Kind of a poetic thing for a program celebrating it’s 20th anniversary of a certain victory over the Blue Devils.
USA Today’s Shelby Mast continues to be among the bigger fans of Arkansas, keeping the Hogs as a 10-seed against New Mexico in Milwaukee. The winner of that game would face the Michigan/Georgia State winner.
I’m not sure how much Saturday’s game against Alabama is going to effect things whether Arkansas wins or loses. Obviously, if Arkansas is among the last four in, losses to anybody can kill you. But at the same time, this is a road game and those tend not to hurt as much. But Alabama’s rated outside the top-100, so I’m not sure how much a win would really help Arkansas either, other than they certainly wouldn’t lose any ground.
I still think what happens to the other bubble teams is just as important, if not more so, than what happens to Arkansas. If a lot of them win on Saturday and the Razorbacks lose, then a loss is awful. If a bunch of them lose, it may not hurt as badly. So how ‘bout this JUST KEEP WINNING HOGS.
I’ve thought for a long time Arkansas’ magic number to secure a place in the tournament would be 23 wins, and it looks like that may be about right.
But for the SEC Tournament things are much more clear.
If Arkansas beats Alabama, they’ll finish with either the 3, 4, or 5-seed. They’ll get the 3-seed if both Georgia loses at LSU and Tennessee loses to Missouri. The 4-seed if one of those two things happens, and Arkansas gets the 5-seed if the Hogs, Vols, and Bulldogs all win Saturday.
If Arkansas loses to Alabama, they’ll get either the 5, 6, or 7-seed. It’s kind of messy how that works out because LSU still has two games to go (they’re at Vanderbilt tonight). If the Tigers lose in Nashville, Arkansas won’t get worse than the 6-seed. But again, JUST KEEP WINNING RAZORBACKS AND WE DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANY OF THIS.
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