From a pure tradition standpoint, Arkansas basketball is superior to Stanford.
But tradition matters little in the modern game and Arkansas, fresh out of falling outside the Top 25, needs to make good on being the superior team in 2023-24 for any of it to matter.
Arkansas is on a bit of a dip heading to the Caribbean after falling to North Carolina-Greensboro last time out in a game that knocked the Hogs from rankings. Stanford owns the same record at 3-1, but the Cardinal’s expectations entering the year weren’t as high as Arkansas’.
In other words, Arkansas has more to play for.
The last time the two teams met was in 2015-16 in the preseason NIT. Arkansas had things to play for that year, too, having come off their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2007-08. Stanford won the matchup, anyway, as the Razorbacks finished the year 16-16. Incidentally, Stanford also finished .500 at 15-15.
Since that team, Arkansas has re-established the groove it found in the 1990s. The Cardinal haven’t. Arkansas has made three straight Sweet Sixteens, including two Elite Eights. Stanford, on the other hand, hasn’t even made the NCAA Tournament in a decade.
But tradition, even one as recent as that, doesn’t matter in one-off games. Coach Eric Musselman knows he needs to have his team ready to play.