Bubble Watch: Arkansas Holds Off South Carolina, Keep Tournament Dreams Alive
If there ever was the definition of a team with a decent record that has a very small chance of making the 2014 NCAA tournament, it’s the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks sit at 5-7 in SEC play and 16-9 overall with wins over the LSU Tigers, Kentucky Wildcats and Minnesota Golden Gophers, a resume that isn’t all that impressive. Arkansas must win out in order to stand any chance of making the Big Dance, and they took a step in the right direction against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
South Carolina may be last in the SEC, but they aren’t a pushover team. Brenton Williams scored 29 for the Gamecocks, but couldn’t get any help from the rest of his young team to try and pull off the upset. Michael Qualls led the Razorbacks with 20 points and senior forward Coty Clarke had a double-double en route to a 71-64 victory.
Arkansas has five games left and should be favored in four of them. However, three of these games are away from home, where the Razorbacks have only won two games all season. On top of their dismal away record, they have to face the Wildcats at Rupp Arena in a must-win game that I don’t think they’ll be able to pull off.
Unfortunately, Arkansas likely won’t go to the 2014 NCAA tournament if they stay true to form. However, the Razorbacks’ future is extremely bright. A trip to the NIT may be disappointing this year, but they may look back on it next year when they compete for the SEC title as positive experience for this young team.