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Bubble Watch: Win and In Situation for the Arkansas Razorbacks

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

It is pretty simple if the Arkansas Razorbacks want to make the NCAA tournament. If they win the SEC tournament, then they are in. Since that won’t likely happen, Arkansas is really going to have to do something special in the conference tourney.

Arkansas has bubble written all over it, but it is definitely on the wrong side of that bubble at the moment.

The Razorbacks had a very tough out-of-conference schedule, which is cool and all, if you win some of the tougher games. Arkansas did not achieve that. This team played Arizona State, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Oklahoma and Michigan. The only team that the Razorbacks managed to beat was the Sooners, who is currently another bubble team.

However, the Razorbacks did pull off some very impressive wins in conference play against Kentucky, Florida, Missouri and Tennessee. It also just got done closing out the regular season with a victory against the Texas A&M Aggies. The only problem is none of that is good enough and the computer rankings would agree.

Arkansas is currently ranked No. 77 in the RPI and No. 78 in the BPI. There are so many bubble teams ahead of the Razorbacks in the computer rankings, which isn’t everything, but they do say a lot.

So it comes down to this: Arkansas needs to win the SEC tournament. That shouldn’t be hard at all, considering that this team will likely be the No. 7 seed in the conference tournament, there are plenty of hungry SEC bubble teams fighting for a tournament bid and the Florida Gators are in this conference–despite the loss to Kentucky today, Florida is still one of the best teams in the country.

With all of that said, things are obviously not looking good for the Razorbacks, but maybe the tournament committee will reason with them if they beat some other bubble teams in the tourney and make a really deep run. That saying “only time will tell” is definitely the case for Arkansas.


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2015 NCAA Tournament Profile: Arkansas Razorbacks

Record: 26-8

Region – Seed: No. 5 in the West

RPI: 17

BPI: 21

Conference: Southeastern Conference

How They Qualified: At-large

The Arkansas Razorbacks have clearly been the second-best team in the SEC this season. While the Kentucky Wildcats have garnered nearly all of the attention in the league (and the country), Arkansas has quietly put together a very good season.

Arkansas has size, athleticism and depth. Head coach Mike Anderson has his team playing the classic “40 Minutes of Hell” style that Anderson’s former boss, Nolan Richardson, employed with the Razorbacks. And it’s working, bringing excitement back to Fayetteville.

What You Need to Know:

Leading Scorer: Bobby Portis, 17.5 ppg

Leading Rebounder: Bobby Portis, 8.5 rpg

Leading Passer: Rashad Madden, 4.7 apg

Bad Losses: at Clemson, at Tennessee, at Florida

Good Wins: Over Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M

Arkansas has the talent to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. However, they don’t have tournament experience, which could end up hurting them the further they go. Playing against teams with more tournament experience could end up being the downfall of this Arkansas squad.

With Portis, the SEC Player of the Year, along with Michael Qualls and Madden, the Hogs have plenty of front-line talent. Anderson must take that talent and do his best to make this team tournament ready in a hurry. If Arkansas could make a run to the Sweet 16, they would see that as a success.

Tim Letcher is a Featured Writer for Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

The Arkansas Razorbacks have clearly been the second-best team in the SEC this season.

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