What the Hogs need to do before Selection Sunday
I don’t think anyone expected Arkansas to be in the situation.
A bubble team floating towards a rotating ceiling fan like Wayne Saliniski in Honey We Shrunk Ourselves.
The Hogs are predicted to be a ninth seed in the tournament, which is reserved for underachieving Power-5 teams. However, some folks think the Hogs are primed for a deep NIT run. No matter what side you lean on, it shows how vital the remaining three games and SEC Tournament are.
A few things will need to happen in this final stretch to Selection Sunday, and luckily for you, I’m here to break it down for you.
Defeat Alabama or Tennssee. Or Both
Shout out to @SethOnHoops for showing Arkansas ❤️! We definitely have the talent to make a run in the NCAA tournament! #WPS🐗💯 pic.twitter.com/WNaB8aFItr
— Klay (@Brian10529302) February 23, 2023
The Razorbacks have back-to-back road games against the best two teams in the conference.
Alabama has been one of the most consistent teams in the country with a resume that includes two wins against different #1 teams. Alabama is beatable, though.
Tennessee was the last team to beat Alabama, proving their talent level is top in the country.
No matter who it is, the Hogs must add a big-time quality win to the resume.
Ricky Council + Nick Smith Jr. + ? = Big Three
Feb 21, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks guard Nick Smith Jr (3) dribbles as Georgia Bulldogs guard Justin Hill (11) defends during the first half at Bud Walton Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
In order to win during March Madness, you need a consistent big three, mainly guards.
Musselman has a group of guards that can succeed in the tournament, but the chemistry has to be developed soon. What the Hogs need to do before Selection Sunday , but I don’t think that’s a formula for success.
It wouldn’t be fair to put the load on Smith like that through March, but he has to be a part of the equation.
Council has already defined himself as one of the best wing scorers in the country. Devo Davis picked up the slack as a leader and Anthony Black has had big moments throughout the season.
Feb 7, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Eric Musselman looks on during the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
The injuries early on in the season handicapped the Razorbacks’ rotation. Musselman usually goes with a nine-man rotation, but only seven players average 20+ minutes per game.
The rotation usually shrinks in tournament time, but I think Musselman needs to open it up. Late-game mistakes have killed the Hogs all season, and one way to limit those is by limiting opportunities to make mistakes.
Anthony Black, Devo Davis, and Ricky Council average 30+ minutes per game, but I think each should come off the court and elaborate more in another article.
A run in the SEC Tournament
Jan 14, 2023; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama head coach Nate Oats instructs his team as they play LSU at Coleman Coliseum Saturday. Alabama defeated LSU 106-66.
Ncaa Basketball Alabama Vs Lsu
The SEC Tournament can be the Hogs’ best friend if all else fails. A deep run in the conference tournament can establish momentum and allow the Selection Committee to see how they work in a single-elimination style tournament. Currently, they are seventh in the conference, but that could change depending on how the final three games go.