FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It was a terrible week for the Arkansas basketball team on the court. Two losses, both ugly, to Auburn and LSU, have given Razorbacks faithful a bad taste.
However, national folks are not dinging the Hogs too much for it. At least not yet.
Arkansas kept a steady, if not ideal, hold on its NCAA Tournament life despite losing three straight games. Its RPI, BPI and strength of schedule remain high. Perhaps it will be enough to counter the ugly losses.
For now, here is how coach Mike Anderson’s team stacks up for NCAA Tournament consideration:
- Record: 11-5 (1-3 in SEC)
- RPI: 25
- BPI: 33
- Strength of schedule (SOS): 21
- 7-seed ESPN
- 6-seed Real-Time RPI (updated before Arkansas’ loss to LSU)
- 8-seed Bracketville (updated before Arkansas’ loss to LSU)
- 9-seed FOX Sports
- Louisville (12-4, 22 RPI)
- Syracuse (12-5, 27 RPI)
Coincidentally, Joe Lunardi at ESPN has Arkansas and Louisville playing each other in the first round. The Cardinals were absolutely smacked by Kentucky a couple weeks back and didn’t look like an NCAA Tournament team. And while they are just 2-1 since, wins over Pittsburgh and Florida State are solid. The loss came to a tourney-bound Clemson team, too.
The Orange are trending downward badly, which is why Arkansas is similar. Both teams have lost three straight games. In Syracuse’s case, it came against Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Virginia — better teams than those Arkansas defeats. They have similar records and RPI and make all the sense in the world as virtual twins.
Arkansas’ upcoming schedule:
- vs Missouri, Saturday
- at Florida, Tuesday
- vs Ole Miss, Jan. 20
The game at Florida, which is unbeaten (4-0) in SEC play, is not likely to be a victory. The games against Missouri and Ole Miss should wins if Arkansas is closer to the team it was in the nonconference — and the team it is on paper — than the team that’s shown up through four SEC games. Truth is, if this is another 1-2 stretch, the hole is going to be difficult to dig out of for Arkansas.
Arkansas’ RPI has not come crashing down thanks to a strong schedule. But the caution was given last week that the Razorbacks can’t lose too many games. An 0-2 stretch since that writing does not bode well. Considering the SEC does not have the perception of being an improved league, that’s even worse for Arkansas’ chances.