Arkansas’ win over Georgia really felt like the clincher for their NCAA Tournament hopes. It felt so much like it Dusty Hannahs felt perfectly comfortable yelling “WE’RE GOIN’ DANCING” to an entire crowd at Bud Walton Arena. Most pundits agree, with Arkansas’ current resume it’s hard to see them missing out.
Record: 23-8 (12-6)
Record vs. Top-50: 4-6
23 wins and a top-30 RPI is very good, as long as Arkansas avoids losing to Auburn or Missouri it shouldn’t change very much. The Hogs are sitting pretty comfortably on the 9 or 10 seed line.
- ESPN: 9 Seed vs. Dayton in Greenville
- CBS Sports: 10 Seed vs. Creighton in Sacramento
- SB Nation: 9 Seed vs. Virginia Tech in Tulsa
- USA Today: 9 Seed vs. Michigan State in Tulsa
- Fox Sports: 9 Seed vs Michigan in Buffalo
It appears that Jerry Palm isn’t as high on the Hogs as the other projections, in fact if you look at his seed lines he also has Arkansas as the lowest 10 seed. Between those four projections, that gives the Hogs four very different matchups. If you’re picking one of those four that Arkansas would most want to face, I would go with Creighton. The Blue Jays are struggling due largely to the injury of their senior point guard Maurice Watson Jr. In their last eight games they are 3-5 and those wins came against the bottom three teams in their conference.
Michigan State would be a very difficult matchup for the Hogs. This isn’t the most talented Tom Izzo team but he will definitely have them ready. Freshmen Nick Ward and Miles Bridges have also hit their stride and are playing very well at the right time.
Dayton and Virginia Tech would fall somewhere in the middle of those two in terms of difficulty. Getting to play the Hokies in Tulsa would be a fun role reversal since the Hogs would have a big crowd advantage after Virginia Tech did in Charlotte.
In the final days before the selection show, who could help out the Hogs the most in terms of tourney chances? First rooting against any teams that otherwise would be nowhere near the tournament stealing a bid is always important. Keeping the bubble as large as possible is going to keep the Hogs further from the first four. Outside of that here are some teams that could help Arkansas in terms of improving their resume.
UT-Arlington: Arkansas’ best non-conference win isn’t a big name, but the Maverick’s RPI is currently sitting at 40. Them winning the Sun Belt would give the Hogs a win over a tournament team, but a loss to a bad team like Costal Carolina for example could cost the Hogs a top-50 win.
Houston: Like UT-Arlington, Houston sits right on the edge of being a top-50 win being right at 50. Their first round matchup will be against USF or UConn which won’t move the needle much, but if they get a semifinal win over Cincinnati that could vault them into bubble discussion. This is the one instance where voting for a bid stealer is okay.
Georgia: The Bulldogs have an RPI of 53 and are on the opposite side of the SEC bracket. Best case scenario for the Hogs in the SEC Tournament would be for them to pull off a miraculous upset or two and add another quality win for the Hogs.