Arkansas is at the midway point of the SEC season heading into the Tennessee game Saturday night, and if Joe Lunardi is right, the Razorbacks still have plenty to play for this season.
FIRST OUT: Butler, Wisconsin, GWashington, UCLA. NEXT OUT: Georgetown, BYU, Temple, Georgia. FOUR MORE: Tulsa, Arkansas, Oregon St, Stanford— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) February 6, 2016
According to Lunardi, Arkansas appears about only 10 spots away from an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. That's certainly closer than I would have expected with an 11-11, 4-5 record, but he's supposed to be the expert here.
The Hogs do have some nice accomplishments on their resume, beginning with last week's top-50 RPI wins over Texas A&M and Texas Tech. The Razorbacks need the Red Raiders to stay in the top 50 and hope Vanderbilt (Arkansas' other best win) can play their way into it. The Commodores are currently just outside with an RPI in the low 50s.
Arkansas does have a chance to pad their win total in February with a stretch of games against Tennessee (twice), at Ole Miss, at Mississippi State, Auburn, and Missouri before hosting LSU. Those are all winnable games (and of course losable games) before closing out the regular season at Alabama and by hosting a top-50 South Carolina team, a game that could have big ramifications if the Hogs win most of these upcoming games. Of course, the Razorbacks have to hope the Gamecocks also continue winning to keep that status.
Even if Arkansas does finish on the bad side of the NCAA bubble, that would mean there's a good chance of an NIT berth, and considering this is supposed to be Mike Anderson's disastrous rebuilding season, that would be a nice accomplishment. Hopefully it's an exciting month.