That 2014 squad was an NCAAT team, even with BJ Young making a silly decision for himself. Scheduling kept them out. The sad aspect is that the schedule was appropriately difficult for that team. We played six top-100, 20+ win teams in nonconference and went 4-2 in those games with two wins away from home (1 neutral, 1 away). However, the other six games were against RPI #250+ teams. If we had replaced those dregs with, say, RPI #125 to #200 games at home that we most likely sweep, we would have been in. The SEC being underseeded in the tourney also worked against us. UT was top-20 Pomeroy and got seeded #11. UK was a #5-seed.
Young leaving too early for his own good is another of the what-if’s in Arkansas basketball history. That was the year that the rules changed heavily in favor of drivers, which was Young’s superpower. In the front court we had Portis, Kingsley, Clarke, and Harris to rotate. The backcourt, however, was paper thin in scoring behind Madden and Qualls. Quality role players like Haydar, Gulley, Wade, and Bell were the depth. That would have been sufficient at guard if you add another reliable double-figure scorer, especially since Young had a skill that nobody else on the team possessed. Young, Madden, Qualls, Clarke, and Portis would have been arguably the most complete starting five since 1995 after the improvement Qualls made from his frosh year. We would have had five guys on the floor that could go for double figures on a given night.