NCAA Tournament or bust

I don’t care how this team sucks it up and does it, but it has to get done.

If this were a transition year of mostly freshman or inexperienced players, maybe an NIT is acceptable.

But an NIT is completely unacceptable as a general rule at Arkansas.

Yes, we may not be the program we remember if 70s, 80s, 90s into early 2000s.

But no way is this a program that is happy with NITs.

NCAA or bust.

There are a lot of games left to play. Only one SEC game has gone different than how I thought it would and that was the LSU game last week.

This is going to be a rough patch for Arkansas with four out of six games on the road. The way I see it, if Arkansas wins a few SEC road games and can limit its home losses to one more, it should have a good shot of making the tournament.

That won’t happen if the team continues to play the way it has the past couple of weeks, but we’ve seen Arkansas turn things around quickly in the past under Anderson, in particular later in conference play.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth is predictable but you’re right about what has happened and the road ahead.

The good news is that almost every other game left is one in which they will be favored or it will be a tossup game.

And, they gave themselves some wiggle room with some big early wins. This stretch has been frustrating. They’re better than MSU. They should have won that game. It’s tough to overcome a lot 40:11 FTA and 26:11 foul discrepancy.

The LSU game was a no-show. But for it things would be about on schedule when you consider they’ve already played the 3 best teams in the league (2 on the road).

I’m not going to panic. We were in similar situations in 2014 and 2016 and ended up having good seasons that many of the posters who constantly trash MA didn’t enjoy at all.

I hope you are right.

I don’t believe anyone wants to panic or question team and coach for heck of it.

But the current conference record is cause for at least concern is it not?

Our program getting drilled by anyone much less recently at home by LSU during this conference season is concerning to this fan.

And I will be more than rejoicing if coach and team can turn this around and make NCAA.

I was hopeful at this stage of coach’s tenure we might have a more dominant conference performance and perhaps win conference. May still happen but at this point I just hope we find a way to be just good enough to make NCAA.

If Arkansas didn’t have the wins over Oklahoma and Tennessee, then I think there should be some concern over the tournament with a 12-6, 2-4 record. But those wins are big, especially the one over Oklahoma.

If you just focus on wins and losses and not the margins (which I think is how the selection committee views things), there are no terrible losses affecting RPI. Mississippi State and LSU have the potential to hurt it in time, but those teams are both in the top 80 as of now.

Arkansas was in worse shape RPI this time last year and still made the tournament with a strong February.

I guess it depends. There is a small group of you who do this every year. I know because I have most of you blocked for this reason.

People flipped out and called for MAs job Portis’ last year ('14-'15) when they lost consecutive December games to IA St. and Clemson.

The Hogs ended up going 27-9, 13-5 and finished 2nd in the SEC Regular Season and Tourney. They beat a good mid-major (Wofford) and lost to UNC in the 2nd round. They finished the season ranked 21. The "Year 7"ers completely ignore this season.

The following season, they lost Portis and Qualls late in the recruiting cycle. Portis seemed to be staying and left. When he did, Qualls followed. The Hogs struggled without them and finished 16-16, 9-9. People called for MA’s job throughout the season. The inexperienced Hogs lost 9 games by 5 points or less. The Year 5ers proclaimed that MA was outcoached in every loss.

Last year, after starting 12-2, the Hogs fell to 17-7, 6-5 with consecutive losses to awful teams (Vandy and Mizzou) a week or so after being torched 99-71 by a bad OK St team.

Year 6ers were livid. MA had to go. He was being outcoached in every loss. He had no system. He only won games because he had superior athletes than the teams he beat. He was losing, though, because he can’t recruit superior athletes to run his non system.

They closed the season on an 8-2 spurt and reached the SECT final for the 2nd time in 3 years.

The Hogs beat a good Seton Hall team and took the NC to the brink. UNC got some big breaks down the stretch and roared back for the win.

The Year 6ers ignored the officiating (that had Twitter ablaze nationally) and proclaimed MA had been outcoached yet again (despite having vastly inferior players and no system and leading with a few minutes left). They finished 26-10, 12-6, and in 3rd place in the SEC ahead of a USCe team (who they beat on the road) that finished their upset bid(s) and made the Final Four.

This year, the Hogs streaked out to an 11-2 start with big wins over Oklahoma and the presumptive National POY, UCONN (by about 40 points) and ranked Tennessee. They entered the polls a few weeks ago only to fall out after two not very surprising road losses (at MSU and AU) and one big home clunker (LSU).

They got a quality win against Mizzou and followed it with an expected road loss (@ Fla where they haven’t won in ~25 years). Lunardi just updated his brackets 1 minute ago and still has us as an 8-seed.

But, on cue, the Year 7ers are calling for MAs job, saying he had been outcoached in every loss and lucky in every win, adding that he has no system and should be fired because we were great 25 years ago and we “deserve” better.

The Year 7ers completely ignore the 27 and 26 win seasons in 2 of the last 3 years because they had the gall to lose to UNC in the 2nd round of the NCAAT those years.

So, idk. You tell me. Is there reason for a freak out? Is there reason to call for MA’s job at every turn? Is there reason to trot out the same tired criticisms every time they lose a game? Is there reason to constantly reference the number of years he has been here and completely ignore the marked improvement the last 3 years?

Maybe there is. I just know that this happens every year and recently his teams have responded very well.

They’ve done so right about the time fans of the program whose hires before him were John Pelphrey and Stan Heath (with a one-day Dana Whoops Pig Sooie in between) start railing about how they deserve so much better than the guy who left a conference rival he had built to 28-win, Elite 8 level to come turn around a program that had been mostly moribund for almost a generation.

So, I’m just gonna let it play out with the knowledge that calling for him to be fired this year and repeatedly referencing the number of years he has been here is asinine but completely predictable.

Best post I’ve ever read on here in a while, well said Notorious. I didn’t even try to come on here and post last night, it would have been pointless. The same people do the same thing every single year, then when things get rolling they disappear and only to return during another drought.

Me personally I predicted we’d win 12 SEC games, I don’t see that happening now. I think 10 games is still doable though. Which if we finish off that way we’re still safely in the tournament. We have a much more manageable stretch coming up. I think we’ll win 3 of the next 5. I think we’ll win our 2 homes games than steal one of the 3 road games. Probably against A&M they are really struggling right now. After that, we have 5 of our next 6 games at home. We win 5 of 6 there, then we jump to 9-7. Then 2 of our last 3 are on the road. Just take care of the 1 home game and we’re sitting at 10-8, and 21-10 going into the SEC tournament. Probably a 6 or 7 seed.

I’m about where you’re at. I agree good post Notorious

I think we will be fortunate to finish with a .500 record in conference. 9-9, maybe 10-8, probably 8-10. To go 9-9, we’ll have to go 7-5 the rest of the way. There are no great SEC teams, but there are a bunch of teams about like us. We have played 6 SEC teams, and we are not better than any of those 6. We might be as good as Missouri, but Tennessee would drill us at Knoxville. Who are we going to beat? Texas A+M, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt? We will win most of the home games, but road victories will be very difficult to come by. 7-5 the rest of the way is reasonable. I don’t keep up with that RPI stuff. We better make the NCAA’s this year because if we lose Barford, Macon and maybe, Gafford next year will be brutal.

In my opinion, one or two and out in the NCAA is not any better then the NIT and winning 3 or more games.

I asked that question a few years ago, make the NIT and get to the Finals or one and done in the NCAAT? The resounding answer on this board was one and done.

Nobody and I do mean nobody cares about the NIT. I bet you 99% of people on here can’t tell you who made the NIT final 4 last year without googling it. I’d rather be a last 4 in NCAA team and get blown out in the play in game than win the NIT Championship.

Only time the NIT is a good thing, is if you’re team is under a complete rebuild and you have a bunch of young players, it gives them extra games to get experience. Other than that, the NIT is a battle of who actually wants to be there.

Wow, friend. That seems a good deal of visceral apparently directed toward a fellow fan with some concerns.

“Small group of you…and blocked for a reason?”

Can one not have concerns on a sports message board after a twenty point loss and when a team is 2-4 in conference?

I was hopeful for more roster fire power by this stage of tenure but sounds like recruiting is rolling now. (Hope it’s ok to say this)

You are right that coach has been able to turn it around previously, and I’m so hopeful it happens this season.

Next year Bardford and Macon will be gone! They are seniors. The other seniors are Beard, Thompson, Cook and Thomas.
With the incoming recruiting class and if Gafford returns which I believe he will the hogs should be better next year! Especially at the point guard position.
I still believe if the hogs start playing defense they still win 12 SEC games.
But at this point that is up to the players.
For all of those folks calling for MA job you need to look in the mirror.
I think we gave 3 games away we should have won! Moo U we should have finished that game despite the free throw line.
LSU was just a no show! Auburn on the road should have been a win! You have to play defense. The hogs haven’t yet

In looking at Post history, I probably lumped you in with some others–Razorwill, hasgjawbend, fatback, etc., whinhabe earned the vitriol with their constant hit jobs.

I have plenty of frustration. I wonder why our perimeter defense is consistently suspect and why the 4 spot has been such a sink hole and why true PG recruiting had been lacking.

I just think on the whole MA has come much closer to turning it around than anyone in the last 25 years and we are going in the right direction.

But I also watch a lot of college hoops and realize the ebbs and flows are really part of it, now. The officiating is brutal, and therefore almost everyone has seasons filled with fits and starts.

Thank you my friend. I share your frustrations, and optimism that we can get on track and finish strong.

As a life long fan since the Sutton/Moncrief days, like many, I have always taken great pride in our program history and its place nationally.

Love adding to the total of NCAA appearances after the program dark days.

I like Mike and believe with practice facility in place to help recruiting that he’s in position to add more pieces and add to our program history.

So rooting for us to get it on track and finish strong this season.