Arkansas fought, and scrapped and clawed their way to a one point win over LSU. The Tigers’ last chances went begging and the Hogs got a huge win, and it obviously meant a lot to the team.
Arkansas looked dead in the water after a four game losing streak to have them near the bottom of the SEC standings. Now back at .500 in SEC play this win was a huge one, and easily the top one on the resume. Beating a top-20 team on a 10 game winning streak in their gym is always a big boost.
So where do the Hogs stand for post season play? Even with the LSU win, NCAA Tournament talk is premature. At 13-8 the overall record just isn’t there. The win boosted the Hogs to ranking 49th in KenPom’s rankings. They finished last season 44th in the rankings but were up to 35th at the time of Selection Sunday. Their rankings are based on efficiency and while the Hogs have a top-50 defense, their offensive rating of 88th hurts them.
There’s the NET rankings, replacing the RPI, this year as well. We’ve talked about how big of a mess those are but the NCAA is using it so it needs attention. Arkansas got a boost of over 10 spots thanks to yesterday’s win. As of today, the Hogs are sitting at 57th after being at 68. While higher in the KenPom rankings, Arkansas’ NET ranking is definitely hurting them. Part of that is due to the NCAA’s asinine Quadrant system.
For those who don’t remember this is what those look like.
- Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
- Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
Arkansas’ record in each quadrant is currently below
- Quadrant 1: 1-5
- Quadrant 2: 2-1
- Quadrant 3: 6-2
- Quadrant 4: 4-0
LSU is the only Q1 win at the moment, thanks to Indiana going nearly a full month without a win. It would be a pretty sizable boost to get a few more wins from the Hoosiers and give the Hogs a non-conference Q1 win. The Western Kentucky and Georgia Tech losses aren’t disastrous, but not great. Western Kentucky is currently at 129 in NET so they’re unlikely to climb up, but Georgia Tech, currently at 93 becomes a Q2 game if they climb a reasonable amount so that’s another team to keep an eye on.
At 13-8, Arkansas likely needs to finish the regular season 7-3. Which would add a few Q2 wins and maybe one or two Q1’s depending on what Ole Miss and Mississippi State do. All of that is pretty unlikely. So unless the Hogs run off another four straight wins, the NCAA Tournament shouldn’t be the talk.
With that said, the NIT for this team with all these new pieces and players growing together, that is a season that exceeded expectations from the outside. Arkansas was picked 10th in the preseason poll for the SEC, Arkansas is in a good place to exceed that, and make a postseason tournament. The goals and expectations for this team have always been to grow offensively, continue to scrap defensively, and stay competitive while scraping out some wins. So far, even though the NCAA Tournament still is a ways off, this team is doing that.