Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Hogs should feel good about NCAA chances
Arkansas shortstop Michael Bernal turns a double play during the Razorbacks' game against Texas A&M on Tuesday at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas likely secured an at-large bid to the NCAA regionals with its 4-0 win over Texas A&M at the SEC Tournament.
The Razorbacks' real-time ratings performance index (RPI) jumped to No. 37 nationally following the game, according to WarrenNolan.com. Arkansas has won seven of its last eight games, including four on the road and Tuesday's neutral site win.
Arkansas went 3-1 in four games against Texas A&M over the last two weeks with both teams potentially battling for the SEC's final at-large bid to the NCAA regionals. The Aggies (33-24) are ranked No. 36 in the real-time RPI, but would almost assuredly be passed over for the Razorbacks if the league was limited to nine NCAA bids based on head-to-head results.
The Razorbacks (36-21) have a chance to strengthen their postseason case this week now that they have moved into the double-elimination portion of the tournament. Arkansas will play Ole Miss on Wednesday and will play either Vanderbilt or LSU on Thursday.
All three of those teams are ranked in the top 16 nationally in RPI. The Razorbacks won their three-game series against Vanderbilt in the regular season, but lost two of three to Ole Miss and LSU.