Photo courtesy of NCAA.com
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The bus is rollin’ to Indy.
The Hogs are setting historical checkpoints left and right.
- Highest conference winning percentage (.786) since 1993-’94.
- Longest conference winning streak (12) since 1993-’94.
- Most points per game (82.4) since 1994-’95.
- Ranked in the Top 10 (10) in the final AP Poll for the first time since 1994-’95.
- Selected as a top three seed (3) for the first time since 1994-’95.
You get it. This team is doing magical things. Well, at least for the kids born in the 21st century.
Jaylin Williams WILL be healthy and available for the NCAA Tournament. His physical presence down low dearly hurt Arkansas in the semifinal loss to LSU. Playing back-to-back days took an obvious toll on the team. An extra body could have pushed the Hogs to a Championship Sunday matchup against Alabama. Instead, Arkansas gets one extra day of rest and preparation as they prepare for Colgate. A lot of fans love to go with the “a loss helps Arkansas” mentality. I just do not buy that. How can a loss help a team more than winning does? I understand the benefits of losing a game while on a long winning streak, but those benefits absolutely do NOT outweigh the benefits of a victory, especially one in the SEC Tournament.
The Hogs saw their name flash on Selection Sunday as a three seed. Arkansas has played two games as a three seed in the NCAA Tournament. In 1991-’92 led by Nolan Richardson in the first year as a member of the Southeastern Conference, the Razorbacks took down (14) Murray State before falling to (3) Memphis. Let’s dive in to Arkansas’ first opponent in Indianapolis this weekend.
The Raiders are members of the Patriot League and clinched an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament last week. This is also the highest seed ranking in the NCAA Tournament in the history of the program. While this is their fourth appearance in the “Big Dance,” they have yet to win a game. Against Tennessee in their most recent tournament appearance in 2019, they were tied with 10 minutes to go. While they ended up slipping towards the finish line, the Raiders were led by Jordan Burns (#1). The then-sophomore poured in a game-high 32(!) points on 8/13 shooting from behind the arc. The kid can play. Over his career he has averaged 15.0 points on 81.2% FT%, and 37.8% 3PT%. Burns is acquainted by Jack Ferguson (#13) and Nelly Cummings (#0), both are also seniors. They average 12.6 PPG and 12.3 PPG, respectively. The Raiders do not pose much of a threat in the frontcourt. The average height of Colgate (76.5”) ranks 241st in the country, according to Ken Pom.
While watching Colgate, they appear to be on the level of an extremely good team assembled at the “HPER” (University of Arkansas’ intramural/recreational facility). I mean that as no disrespect to the Raiders, who rattled off a 14-1 record and are currently winners of 13 straight. The Hogs can not take this team lightly. They can shoot the cover off the ball, in fact, they have the 3rd best 3PT% in the country at 40.0%. But that’s not all, they play great perimeter defense as well, holding opponents to 26.1%. However, consume this information with a grain of salt when you consider their 283rd best SOS ranking according to Ken Pom.
The Raiders will not be able to match up with the athleticism of the Hogs, plain and simple. Shame on you, Seth Davis, for predicting the preposterous upset. Do your homework.
Arkansas, let’s go win a ballgame.