Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
NET rankings near critical stage
Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman is shown in a timeout during Arkansas' game at South Carolina on Feb. 4, 2023, in Columbia, S.C.
At this point in the season, every game is important for the Arkansas Razorbacks, who are tied for sixth place in the SEC with Missouri and Florida.
Currently, the Hogs are one of four SEC Quad 1 teams in the NCAA NET rankings.
Despite the road loss to Vanderbilt on Tuesday night, Tennessee is No. 2 (the Razorbacks visit the Vols on Feb. 28), Alabama is No. 3 (the Hogs play there Feb. 25), Arkansas is No. 29 and Auburn is No. 30, and they have already played.
On the NET bubble are Kentucky, which actually improved a spot after losing to Arkansas by 15 to No. 31, and the Wildcats visit the Hogs on March 4, Texas A&M is No. 40, but in second place in the SEC, and will host the Hogs on Feb 15.
Florida is No. 43 and visits Walton Arena on Feb. 18, Mississippi State is No. 46 and the Razorbacks play there Saturday.
Arkansas also hosts Georgia which has a NET ranking of 126.
Every game is critical for NCAA Tournament seedings, and while the experts have the Hogs seeded somewhere between No. 9 and No. 11, those are not good seeds. It is always good to be in the tournament, but some seeds are better than others.
To open the tournament, a No. 9 plays a No. 8, which there is practically no difference in the teams, but the winner then plays a No. 1 seed.
A No. 11 seed plays a No. 6 and the winner gets a No. 3 seed.
Of course, you have to beat the best to be the best, but getting out of the gate is important as well.
With seven regular-season games left, the Razorbacks face six very good teams and one that can be dangerous because Georgia head coach Mike White will most likely throw a 2-1-2 zone at Arkansas.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they play at Alabama on the Saturday before they travel to Fayetteville for a Tuesday game, giving them one less day to prepare the Razorbacks.
There is a lot of criteria the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee uses to set the field and NET is just one of them. The best way for a team to ensure they are part of March Madness is to win its conference tournament, second best may be as a Quad 1 team.
Arkansas’ last seven games will make or break its Quad 1 ranking.
Having received numerous emails from people who aren’t going to be able to watch the Super Bowl at home because their cable provider and Fox are at odds, here’s the solution.
Buy a high definition antenna, and yes there are a couple of generations who know nothing about rabbit ears or attaching an antenna to your house.
They cost about $15 at most electronic stores, including Wal-Mart. It is a simple one-cable hook-up that was built in on mine.
Set your TV source to TV, and you have all the local stations and about 50 you have never heard of that show classic shows like “Gunsmoke” and “Beverly Hillbillies.”
They also are a good back-up if your cable goes out.
There’s lots of speculation out there about who will replace Chris Beard as Texas’ head basketball coach.
There is one name that cannot be overlooked, and that is Rodney Terry, the interim head coach for the Longhorns, who despite a Tuesday loss at Kansas, sit atop the Big 12 Conference standings with an 8-3 record and 19-5 overall mark. Their NET ranking is No. 8.
The 54-year-old Texas native is 12-4 as the interim head coach. He had some success as the head coach at Fresno State, leading the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament. He seemed to have Texas-El Paso on the right path when he opted to join Beard’s staff at Texas.
Texas has shown some interest in Terry. They raised his salary from $500,000 to $1.2 million.
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