With Saturday’s 71-54 loss at Florida, Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks have no margin for error the rest of the way.
A lot of the local talking heads are saying that the Hogs can stomach another loss at Missouri on March 5th and still make the NCAA tourney with a good showing in the SEC tournament. That’s just not going to happen.
What’s killing their resume at the moment are two things: 1) really bad losses to South Carolina (201 RPI) and Vanderbilt (143 RPI), and 2) their own RPI, which as of Sunday was 82.
That, coupled with a 1-9 boat anchor of a road record, is not at all what the committee is looking for.
If you flip those bad losses, all of the sudden you are 19-8, 10-4 and tied for second in the SEC. And your good wins vs. Florida, Missouri and Oklahoma probably tip the scale for you the other way.
The SEC is so bad this year, that most conference wins are not carrying any weight. Just ask Alabama. The Tide are 10-4 in SEC play but, like the Hogs, have virtually no shot at an at-large bid because of their weak non-conference schedule and their 10 SEC wins are against bad teams.
That said, wins at Missouri (37 RPI) and at home against Kentucky (45 RPI) would boost the Hogs RPI — maybe into the 50s. A couple of wins then in the SEC tourney would give them a real shot.
Despite the bleak tourney prospects, the Hogs have to feel good about the emergence of Anthlon Bell this past week. Bell’s hot streak (31 points in 36 minutes over two games) has given us a glimpse into what his future might look like.
“You’re starting to see his emergence. That’s a real positive.” - Mike Anderson on Anthlon Bell after the Florida game
Anderson could stand to go round up a few more shooters like Bell.
We’re not packing it in just yet. We’ll know Wednesday night at LSU if the Hogs are still bubble contenders. If you can’t beat a bad LSU team after their emotional, three-overtime win over Alabama Saturday, you don’t deserve to be in the conversation any longer.