Last season, the Arkansas Razorbacks were unfortunate not to make it to the 2013 NIT tournament after a 19-13 season that saw them upset the Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats and Missouri Tigers. This season, the Razorbacks will be fighting to stay afloat in an SEC filled with talented middle-of-the-pack teams.
Arkansas lost both of their star players, B.J.Young and Marshawn Powell, to early entry into the NBA draft whose production accounted for nearly 30 points a game – 40 percent of their total scoring offense. It’s going to be tough for the Razorbacks to recover with such a large percentage of their offense missing, but don’t underestimate the talent on this team.
Arkansas will rely heavily on incoming five-star freshman Bobby Portis, as well as try to incorporate fellow talented freshman Moses Kingsley into an offense that, although devoid of its top scorers, still has some fight left. Veterans Coty Clarke and Michael Qualls have been in the SEC for a while and can do some scoring of their own.
The Razorbacks were expected to be one of the teams competing for a possible NCAA tournament berth in the 2013-14 season, but because of Young and Powell’s early exits, many have written this team off. Arkansas can still make the tournament if younger players can step up like Portis, Qualls and Williams; it also helps that they have one of the easiest schedules in the SEC.
Expect Arkansas to pull off a few surprise wins this season, but the Razorbacks are in a transition year and probably won’t make the 2014 NCAA Tournament. However, with a good season, Arkansas should be primed to compete for a place in the 2015 NCAA tournament.