Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Arkansas and Kentucky played for the SEC title last year.

Arkansas basketball making it hard on itself for SEC Tournament

Eric Bolin

SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at ericwbolin@gmail.com.

Question of the Day: Wednesday, February 21, 2018

arkansas-arkansas basketball

Sure, why not? The SEC isn’t as good as some say, and it’s definitely not as good as the league’s public relations machine suggests.

That doesn’t mean the league is bad. In fact, it’s perfectly OK. Deep, even. In fact, its depth can only be matched by the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East, two classic basketball powerhouse leagues.

But don’t kid yourself, not a single team in this league has a shot at the national title. Yes, that includes Auburn, which, against all odds, keeps winning. Really, there is a reason Auburn and Tennessee were picked in the bottom half of the conference. Sure, the two teams are better than everyone thought, but the rest of the league hasn’t nearly lived up to what it was projected to be.

Kentucky is a disappointment — even after beating Arkansas on Tuesday night. Florida is a modest one, and Texas A&M is quite a large disappointment. Missouri and Alabama are a whole bunch of ‘meh.’ Georgia isn’t as good as I anticipated. Only Arkansas, really, has a shot to overachieve based on my preseason expectations, other than Auburn and Vols.

Arkansas, accordingly, could very well win the SEC Tournament championship. Or not. The Hogs aren’t going to be picked to win any of their remaning three games. That would ultimately leave them with an 8-10 record in league play and a matchup against a similar team, perhaps one even better.

Thing is, they’re all about the same outside of the extreme top and bottom. The league is that absurd.

That’s a blessing and a curse, really. The league is bound to get six or seven teams into the NCAA Tournament, perhaps even eight. It’s going to look like a big-time conference, but is anyone really picking more than two teams to make it to the second week?