Bubble Watch: Arkansas Razorbacks Moving Closer to Securing an NCAA Tournament Bid

By Matthew Sturgeon
Mike Anderson, Arkansas Razorbacks
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Forward Coty Clarke had 23 points and Michael Qualls added 20 as the Arkansas Razorbacks defeated the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville. Kenny Gaines was outstanding for the Bulldogs in defeat, scoring 25 points of his own — including going 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.

This SEC showdown featured a battle of two NCAA tournament bubble teams. The Bulldogs’ resume certainly does not scream “tournament team,” but by virtue of their now 10-6 record in conference and third place standing in the SEC — behind only Florida and Kentucky — they deserve to be under consideration.

As the calendar has now hit March, Mike Anderson‘s Razorbacks appear to be hitting their stride at the right time. With the win today, Arkansas has now won five-straight games and seen its record improve to 20-9 overall and 9-7 in the SEC. The Hogs are deep and very talented and they are finally starting to play quality, consistent basketball. Additionally, having five different players who average at least nine points per game makes this team an extremely difficult cover for its oppositions.

The Razorbacks are scorching hot and with Thursday night’s win in Lexington, they are unquestionably moving up the bubble with each passing day — and win. Anderson’s bunch swept the season series over John Calipari and the youthful Kentucky Wildcats and they have some other nice wins of note as well.

While the two Kentucky wins are huge, Arkansas possesses a couple of terrific non-conference victories that will also greatly impress the tournament’s selection committee — An 11-point win over Larry Brown‘s resurgent SMU Mustangs as well as a 14-point win in Maui over fellow bubble team Minnesota.

Anderson’s team is by no means a lock for the tournament just yet. But, if they can take care of business against Ole Miss and Alabama to close out their regular-season slate, to the madness, they’ll march.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27.

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