Fans, coaches, players come together with pride after heartbreaking Arkansas loss
With your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points. There is no place like it on the web.
Hearts weigh heavy today in Razorbacks Country.
The Arkansas basketball team was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night in Greenville, S.C. North Carolina, the top seed in the South Region, used a wild final three minutes to oust the Razorbacks, 72-65.
A gutsy performance may not have kept Arkansas’ season alive, but it left some hope in things to come. Dusty Hannahs, Moses Kingsley and Manny Watkins — Arkansas’ three seniors — will never suit up again for the Razorbacks. But they leave behind a legacy of positivity. In that regard, there is no better way for them to have gone out.
I'm sorry. I gave y'all every single ounce I had left in my body. Thanks for having me Razorback Nation #wps
— Dusty Hannahs (@D_Hannahs) March 20, 2017
Praise came from across the athletic department. Football coach Bret Bielema, who had no trouble expressing his voice on Twitter during Arkansas’ postseason run, expressed his pride, as well.
Love everything about our hogs and @MikeAndersonUA tonight except we don't get to play again!
Can't wait for football & basketball ahead!
— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) March 20, 2017
Even in baseball, some old alums, including a postseason hero in his own right, extended the warm fuzzies.
Guys played their tails off. Those guys make me really proud to be a Razorback, left it all on the floor.
— Jackson Lowery (@Jackson33Lowery) March 20, 2017
You can be angry at the officials or North Carolina or whatever. But don’t let it distract you from the real stuff. This Arkansas team deserves every bit of praise it receives.
Speaking of angry…
The Malik Monk stuff just won’t seem to die.
Monk tweeted this…
— Malik Monk (@AhmadMonk) March 20, 2017
… just minutes after Arkansas was eliminated. For the record, his Kentucky team clinched its spot in the Sweet 16 hours before.
You have to give the guy credit, it’s expert-level trolling. After everything he’s put up with, mostly the last two weeks or so, I can’t say I blame him much.
Arkansas sports about to be impacted by state legislature
The Arkansas football team is scheduled to play San Jose State in Fayetteville or Little Rock on Sept. 21, 2019. The problem is if a pair of bills currently proposed in the Natural State’s legislature pass, either one, that game will have to canceled.
The state of California prohibits state employees from traveling to work in states with discriminatory laws. The law has already stifled communications regarding a potential men’s basketball series between Cal-Berkeley and Kansas, a state that has such a law.
Speaking of which, if the NCAA catches wind of the Arkansas bills should they become laws, it’s likely college sports’ regulation body would remove the U of A-Fayetteville from hosting NCAA Track and Field Championships or Super Regionals or any other NCAA-sanctioned postseason event.
The Razorbacks already have come into contact with the NCAA’s actions on this topic. That’s why this year’s men’s basketball South Region first- and second-round games were in Greenville, S.C., instead of Greensboro, N.C.
Read more about it on the terrific Arkansas Blog.
This Arkansas team was the most fun basketball team I’ve covered in 12 years of writing about sports professionally.
They were a trip. The personalities. The attitudes. The characters. The play. The talent. The skill. Everything about the 2016-17 Razorbacks was unusual. And that means in both good and bad ways. Mostly good.
But, as written, this team grew up by season’s end. If the guys with eligibility left come back, I wouldn’t count on seeing as many ups and downs next year.
For some happy stuff
You may have missed this, and that’s quite OK. With basketball going Friday and Sunday, it would have been easy to miss it.
But, um, Arkansas is in first place in the SEC.
The Diamond Hogs just finished off a sweep of Mississippi State on Sunday, taking all three games over the weekend at Baum Stadium. The series win was the first in 11 months in SEC play for the Razorbacks, who finished last in the league last year.
This isn’t the same Razorbacks team. At all. Next comes a three-game series against fellow expected bottom-tier finisher Missouri. Well, that’s the next SEC series, anyway. But the Tigers, too, are 3-0 in the league and lead the East.
Know this, either way: Arkansas baseball is back to its old ways.
- The Confederate flag was flying near Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville on Sunday, and it did not go unnoticed.
- Our Jason Kersey caught up with future Arkansas footballer David Porter, a Little Rock product, who is only starting to come into his own. His future at Arkansas is bright.
- The Arkansas softball team is already better than it’s been either of the last two years. Literally. The Razorbacks just took two of three from Tennessee over the weekend and are ranked No. 24 in the nation. Arkansas won just one SEC game last year.
WOOOO! Today in Arkansas
Notice the name change for this segment?
That’s because Ric — WOOO — Flair — WOOO — was in Arkansas over the weekend for a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Hot Springs. The Stylin’, profilin’, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a gun joined Alfonso Ribero (Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) as celebrities in the parade.
Why? I don’t know, I was in Greenville. But it’s pretty hilarious. Check out the photo gallery from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette here.
— AR Democrat-Gazette (@ArkansasOnline) March 19, 2017