Losing to Mizzou didn’t drop the Hogs RPI as much as I expected it to, compounding it with a bad home loss to Vanderbilt dropped it even more. The Hogs now sit 49 in the RPI, meaning they’re going to likely have to score a big win to climb back into a spot where they can feel good about their chances to make the tournament.
Those chances will likely only come against Florida or South Carolina, or in the SEC Tournament. If the Hogs win the remainder of their games that aren’t against those teams, (which has become a really big if at this point) they’ll be sitting at 22-9 overall, but the question becomes if their RPI rises enough with no real marquee wins. Last week everyone had Arkansas in the 9/10 seed range, this is how they stack up now.
ESPN: 11-seed in a play-in game vs Seton Hall
CBS Sports: First team out
USA Today: “Others Considered”
Fox Sports: Third team out
If you look at Bracket Matrix, there’s a healthy mix of opinion on where Arkansas would fall if the season ended today. There are still some with the Razorbacks included after the Vanderbilt loss, but also many have the Hogs out.
It’s amazing how quickly this went from breaking down potential matchups and travel to figuring out what the Hogs need to do just to get back in the tournament. It was easy to think the season was over after the Vanderbilt loss. It was ugly. It looked like the team might have given up, and they may have, but if they are still motivated to keep playing, they still have a shot at making the tournament, if these projections are to be believed.
In less than a week Arkansas has gone from having a little wiggle room to having to make up ground. So who will they have to beat out to make their way on the right side of the bubble? Pay attention to teams like Seton Hall, Illinois State, Clemson, and Syracuse. These four are right square on the bubble in most projections and who Arkansas will need to jump to get back in the picture. So the road to the NCAA Tournament for Arkansas now includes the need for a win against South Carolina or Florida, and for these four teams to not score any large upsets as well.