Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
Projections vary for Hogs on Selection Sunday
Arkansas coach Eric Musselman is shown in the locker room following a 76-73 victory over Auburn at the SEC Tournament on Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Arkansas basketball team’s season didn’t end with its 67-61 loss to No. 18 Texas A&M on Friday night in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals in Bridgestone Arena.
Based on all projections, the Razorbacks (20-13) will hear their name called today when CBS televises the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, which starts at 5 p.m.
“I feel like one of the main focuses going into college basketball is being able to compete at the highest level, which is March Madness,” Arkansas freshman forward Jordan Walsh said. “Some say it’s the greatest feeling you could have in your life.
“I’m just glad that we have a chance to be able to get there. I’m just excited for it, I guess.”
Razorbacks Coach Eric Musselman wasn’t ready to turn his attention to the NCAA Tournament in the aftermath of losing to Texas A&M.
The Aggies rallied from a 38-25 halftime deficit to eliminate Arkansas from the SEC Tournament for the second consecutive year.
“As a competitor, I think you have to let this game sink in before we turn the page,” Musselman said. “I’m not really going to start thinking about the [NCAA] Tournament until we know who we play and where we play.
“I’m going to look into this game and see how we can get better.”
CBS and ESPN both project Arkansas as a No. 8 seed, but at different sites.
The projection by CBS has the Razorbacks playing No. 9 seed Boise State in Des Moines, Iowa, with Kansas as the No. 1 seed. ESPN has Arkansas playing No. 9 seed Illinois in Birmingham, Ala., where the No. 1 seed is Houston.
Other sites for the first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games are Albany, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Greensboro, N.C.; Orlando, Fla.; and Sacramento, Calif.
“It’s good that we got another tournament to play in,” Arkansas freshman guard Anthony Black said. “Hopefully, on Sunday we’ll see that.
“I mean, that’s kind of been our expectation, to be honest.”
The Razorbacks, who advanced to the Elite Eight the previous two years, will be making an NCAA Tournament appearance for the third consecutive year for the first time since a three-year run from 2006-2008.
CBS and ESPN project eight SEC teams to make the NCAA Tournament with Alabama, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Auburn and Mississippi State joining Arkansas.
Including a 76-73 victory over Auburn on Thursday night in the SEC Tournament, the Razorbacks are 4-9 against their conference rivals projected to be in the NCAA Tournament.
“This league, it’s really hard, it’s really competitive,” Musselman said. “Great talent. A lot of NBA players play in this league. Great coaches in this league.
“Hopefully we’ve learned throughout. Even [in Friday night’s game]. I hope we learn something that we can discuss and try to get better at.”
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