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Mike Anderson has Arkansas surging toward NCAA tournament bid

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A month ago Arkansas didn’t look much like an NCAA tournament team. Now the Razorbacks are suddenly not only making a strong case for inclusion in the field, they’re a threat to steal an automatic bid at next week’s SEC tournament.

Arkansas made 17 3-pointers and absolutely crushed Ole Miss on Wednesday night 110-80. It was the Razorbacks’ sixth consecutive victory, the longest conference winning streak for the program in 16 years. They have won eight of their past nine games since early February and the lone loss was a one-point defeat to coach Mike Anderson’s former Missouri program.

Arkansas is 21-9 overall and 10-7 in the SEC.

This is a team that lost in overtime to No. 1 Florida earlier in the season when it wasn’t playing its best basketball. It’s also a team that has beaten Kentucky twice in overtime. There is no doubt its capable of a run in the conference tournament similar to the one put together by Ole Miss last season.

Credit coach Mike Anderson who led Missouri to the Elite Eight in 2009 and led UAB to Sweet 16 in 2004. It seems only a matter of time before Anderson has Arkansas back in the NCAA tournament and it might be as soon as two weeks from now.

The Rebel rout was the fourth time this season Arkansas has scored in triple digits. It also had another game in which it put 99 points on the board. Guard Anthlon Bell came off the bench to score 23 points.

The outcome left Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy with no doubts about how good Arkansas has become late in the season.

"That's an NCAA tournament team, and hopefully they'll continue to show that and get that opportunity,” Kennedy told reporters afterward.

The Razorbacks will try for their third consecutive road win and 22nd win overall on Saturday at Alabama. They could finish as high as third in the SEC.

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Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

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