Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Razorbacks sent to South Carolina for NCAA regional
Julian Perico of Arkansas during an NCAA golf tournament on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Fayetteville. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas Razorbacks will have to claw through a tough regional if they are to make a return appearance with their veteran club at the NCAA championships in three weeks.
The No. 35 Razorbacks were selected as the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Salem (S.C.) Regional to be hosted by Clemson on May 15-17. The top five seeds from each of the six regionals will comprise the 30-team field for the championships, scheduled for May 26-31 at Greyhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Arkansas will make its 29th NCAA Regional appearance and its 15th in a row for Coach Brad McMakin.
McMakin noted the Razorbacks, who finished 10th at the SEC Championships to squeak in to NCAA eligibility, is playing better.
“It’s a good region,” McMakin said. “There’s a lot of good teams. I just feel like if we play well we can play with anybody. That’s the mindset.
“We’ve really struggled this year with a team that I thought was going to be extremely, extremely good, which I still believe. … Our team has not connected all year long. … Everybody hasn’t played well at the right time. But it’s definitely trending in that direction right now.”
The Razorbacks will send the senior quartet of Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira, Wil Gibson, Julian Perico and Segundo Oliva Pinto to the regional along with sophomore Manuel Lozada and an alternate, likely to be Christian Castillo.
“I think we’re going to have a blast,” said Pinto, the SEC individual champion two years ago. “We were determined to make it anywhere we were sent to and this place is no exception.
“What are we, a six seed? We know we have a competitive regional and there’s a lot of good teams there. We’re going there to dominate. That’s our idea, to make it through no matter what.”
The regional will be played at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls in Salem, S.C., about 25 miles from the Clemson campus in Clemson, S.C. The region’s top seeds are North Carolina, ACC champion Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, San Diego State and Georgia Southern.
Arkansas is the six seed, followed by Purdue, New Mexico, host Clemson, Furman, Middle Tennessee State, Northern Illinois, Long Island University and Longwood.
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