Arkansas' biggest challenges in SEC play in basketball are typically thought of as Kentucky, Florida and maybe LSU just because of the crazy things that tend to happen in rivalry matchups. But after Saturday's head scratching home loss to Ole Miss I think it's time to add the Rebels to that list. I did some digging the day after the game and found some pretty interesting and puzzling numbers regarding how Arkansas has fared against its top challengers of late. I lay it all out in my latest column in this week's Arkansas Traveler. Plain and simple, Andy Kennedy and Ole Miss have Arkansas' number.
We all like to pick fun at how bad the SEC can be at basketball sometimes. It's fun to say the least. Frankly, an SEC matchup between the right two team can make a person swear off basketball for a while. But let's also give credit where it's due. The SEC is a better league this year than it has been in a while. Surprise teams like Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee have made games more fun to watch. And as a result, the SEC, if the season were to end today, would have nearly half the number of teams in the tournament that the league has sent since 2009. Laugh all you want at SEC basketball, but it's on the rise (I think).
During his junior season and first year with Arkansas, Martrell Spaight didn't really even know where he supposed to line up when he was on the field and it hurt him significantly. But after countless hours of film room study and devoting his time and effort into getting better, he ended up at the league's top tackler and a first team All-SEC pick. Trey Flowers is one of those guys as well, working his way from being offered by just one SEC school to potentially being a high round draft pick. Both Spaight and Flowers have left their mark on Arkansas and the SEC, and both cracked ESPN's list of the top players in the league in 2014.
Speaking of those two, Robb Smith's two defensive studs were invited to the Senior Bowl (Jan. 24, 3 p.m.) and have one last chance to put on the Razorback helmet and represent the program before moving on to the NFL Draft process. It's great to see two guys who have worked and been through as much as they have be rewarded for their sacrifices. The team who eventually picks them up should consider themselves fortunate.
Tweet of the Week
Was just informed that a dad ran onto the court during the Danville-Atkins girls' game to argue w/ a ref. He was tazed & arrested. #arpreps— Andrew Hutchinson (@NWAHutch) January 17, 2015
Arkansas' basketball struggles have made the people in Danville/Atkins lose their minds, too. Mercy.