SEC Basketball: Arkansas Razorbacks Preview, 2014 NCAA Tournament Chances

By Taylor Sturm
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Arkansas Razorbacks finished their non-conference schedule with an 11 – 2 record and with good wins over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Clemson Tigers and the SMU Mustangs. Their two losses came at the hands of the California Golden Bears and the then-No. 11 Gonzaga Bulldogs. They are the ninth highest scoring team in the nation as they close out their non-conference schedule and look to have success in the SEC.

The biggest reason for their non-conference success has been the surprising play of Michael Qualls coupled with the outstanding play of five-star freshman Bobby Portis. Arkansas is one of the deepest teams in the entire country, but is very young and inexperienced. Whether if it has success this season or not, it has already proven that it will be a competitor in the SEC within the next few years. However, its youth doesn’t mean that it is incapable of succeeding in the SEC this season.

With Arkansas opening SEC play against one of the worst teams in the conference, the Texas A&M Aggies, it could start off conference play with a bang. However, its next two games are far more difficult and will be against the No. 12 Florida Gators and the No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats; both will be at home in Fayetteville.  If Arkansas can pull of just one of these victories, a top six finish in the SEC could be in its future.

Could the Razorbacks end up in the 2014 NCAA Tournament? Of course. Arkansas could pull off a few big wins against ranked SEC opposition like No. 12 Florida, No. 15 Kentucky or the No. 25 Missouri Tigers and sneak in as a late bubble team. However, it’s far more likely that the Razorbacks have a decent performance in SEC play and end up in the NIT.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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