Bulldogs Failed Hogs In Helping Them Avoid ‘Wednesday Night Sadness’ But Hope Remains

Arkansas vs LSU

FAYETTEVILLE — At this point, the Arkansas basketball team has just one hope for postseason play: Winning the SEC Tournament.

Yes, after Wednesday night’s 94-83 win vs LSU, momentum is on Arkansas’ side, but winning the SEC Tournament is still unlikely for the Razorbacks, who are just 15-15 overall and 6-11 in SEC play.

In the 10 years since the SEC Tournament went to its current format, no team seeded 11th or worse has won the event. Doing the near-impossible would require winning five games in five days, as seeds 11-14 play on the first day of the tournament, which is sometimes referred to as “Wednesday Night Sadness.” (Arkansas had to win only four straight games when it won its only SEC tourney title in 2000.)

For a hopeful while, beating LSU meant Arkansas still had a shot at earning the 10 seed. The next step would have been knocking off Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, plus getting some help in the form of Texas A&M losing to both Mississippi State on Wednesday and Ole Miss on Saturday.

Alas, Mississippi State fell down by more than 20 points in the second half and couldn’t climb all the way back against Texas A&M despite closing the lead to 3 late.

Hogs and SEC Tournament Seeding

If the Magnolia State teams had done their job, the Razorbacks and Aggies would have been tied for 10th with a 7-11 mark in SEC play. Arkansas would have owned the tiebreaker because it swept the home-and-home series with Texas A&M this year.

The odds of Arkansas winning out and Texas A&M losing out were not good to start with. Entering Arkansas vs LSU, KenPom gave it a 0.79% chance of happening, while ESPN’s Basketball Power Index was even less optimistic, giving it a 0.36% chance of happening.

The biggest hope for Arkansas in the SEC Tournament now, is two-fold:

  1. The team is clearly playing better than it has in months, having won three of its last five games and playing with better offensive fluidity than at any point all season long with Khalif Battle, who has notched 141 points in a four-game stretch, leading the way.
  2. While Musselman has honed in on an eight-man rotation, a few key pieces from earlier in the SEC season haven’t seen the floor much. Specifically, the minutes of Jalen Graham and Keyon Menifield (both of whom have been coming back from injury), as well as promising freshman Layden Blocker, have all fallen off a cliff. That means all three of those guys should be fresh for a potential 5-game marathon. Most bottom-four seed SEC teams don’t have the kind of depth this Arkansas squad has, and if the Razorbacks are able to keep their legs enough to pull off a miracle run, that depth will have to come through in a big way.

Read more from the post-game of Arkansas vs LSU here:

If the Razorbacks can’t pull off a miracle run at the SEC Tournament, the Natural State’s best hope for a team in the big dance is Little Rock. The Trojans certainly have an Arkansas basketball flavor to them, as their head coach is former Razorback star Darrell Walker and two of their key players are former Razorbacks – KK Robinson and Makhel Mitchell.

Best of Arkansas Sports recently caught up with Robinson to talk to him about his journey. Check out that story here:

LIVE UPDATES – Arkansas vs LSU

Pregame Tidbits

Khalif Battle was the first player out of the tunnel as Arkansas returned to the floor for pregame warmups. Eric Musselman said he was dealing with an injury and didn’t go through practice on Monday, but he appears good to go.

Jalen Graham is also going through pregame warmups. He missed several games with a shoulder injury and then didn’t travel to Kentucky because of academic issues.

15:37, 1H – Arkansas 8, LSU 7

Nice pace to the game in the early going. Both teams are shooting at a good clip, with most of the buckets coming at the rim. Ellis has half of the Hogs’ points.

10:43, 1H – Arkansas 20, LSU 13

The Razorbacks have done a good job of getting to the free throw line, as they’re 5 of 6 from the stripe and have drawn four fouls so far. Ellis made the game’s first 3 to give Arkansas a seven-point lead (and give him a game-high 7 points), but LSU will be shooting free throws when play resumes.

7:02, 1H – Arkansas 29, LSU 21

Makhi Mitchell is playing really well on both ends of the floor. He’s made a jumper late in the shot clock and just made a nice move for a dunk, giving him six points. He also has a block, but probably should have been credited with another one. He’s helped the Hogs build a solid early lead – it was 10 before LSU scored.

3:51, 1H – Arkansas 35, LSU 27

The Hogs’ solid offense vs. Kentucky has carried over to today, as they have 35 points on 57.9% shooting. It’s been pretty evenly distributed, with seven different players scoring betwee 2-8 points. Battle leads the way with 8, with 6 of 6 at the free throw line. On the flip side, LSU is just 2 of 8 from 3. The Tigers shot 52.2% from deep in the first matchup.

HALF – Arkansas 42, LSU 35

Ending halves on a strong note has been a struggle for Arkansas this season, but it did a decent job this time. However, it did extend its lead to 11 with 1:25 left, only to see it shrink back down to seven. Khalif Battle leads all scorers with 10 points. Makhi Mitchell is working on a double-double with 7 points and 5 rebounds.

15:23, 2H – Arkansas 53, LSU 44

Oh my, Chandler Lawson. The big man came up with a steal and then took it all the way, dunking over a defender in the process. He then had a three-point play on the next possession, giving him five quick points after going scoreless in the first half. The bench was loving it and even got a bench warning for its celebrating. Lawson added another layup before the first media timeout, giving him 7 points.

The Razorbacks led by as many as 12, but LSU cut it to six with a 6-0 run. Battle scored on a goal-tending to send the game to a media timeout. He’s up to 14 points.

11:34, 2H – Arkansas 60, LSU 55

The lead has shrunk to five and LSU will be shooting two free throws when play resumes. The Tigers have made it a point to drive and get to the line, as they’re about to take their ninth and 10th free throws of the second half, a shift from the first half when it was Arkansas getting to the line. The Hogs have just one free throw since halftime.

10:07, 2H – Arkansas 67, LSU 56

A quick 7-0 spurt by the Hogs prompts an LSU timeout. It was called immediately after Battle finally knocked down a 3 after missing his first three. He’s up to 17 points. Makhi Mitchell has 13 points on 5 of 7 shooting, too.

7:38, 2H – Arkansas 67, LSU 60

And just like that, the lead is back down to 7, as Arkansas has gone cold. It has missed four straight shots and has gone 2.5 minutes without scoring. The good news for the Hogs is that LSU has missed its last three shots.

3:42, 2H – Arkansas 80, LSU 66

Arkansas is starting to pull away. It’s currently on an 8-0 run and have its largest lead of the night. Battle is up to 21 points and also has a career-high 3 blocks. Mitchell just picked up his fourth foul, but has 17 points and 7 rebounds. Ellis is also in double figures with 14 points to go along with 6 boards.

FINAL – Arkansas 94, LSU 83

LSU tried to make things a little interesting late by forcing a couple of turnovers, but the Hogs withstood it and their lead never shrunk below eight. Battle finished with 29 points for the Hogs.



Starting Lineups

LSU BasketballArkansas Basketball
#0 – Trae Hannibal – G#0 – Khalif Battle – G
#6 – Jordan Wright – G#3 – El Ellis – G
#15 – Tyrell Ward – F#12 – Tramon Mark – G
#20 – Derek Fountain – F#2 – Trevon Brazile – F
#9 – Will Baker – C#8 – Chandler Lawson – F

How to Watch Arkansas vs LSU

Date: Wednesday, March 6

Location: Bud Walton Arena (Fayetteville, Ark.)

Tipoff Time/TV: 6 p.m. CT (SEC Network)

ESPN BPI: Arkansas has a 52.9% chance to win, favored by 0.8 points.

KenPom: Arkansas has a 50% chance to win, favored by a score of 79-78.

SEC Basketball Standings

TeamSEC RecordOverall Record
1. Tennessee13-323-6
2. South Carolina12-424-5
3. Auburn12-523-7
3. Alabama12-520-10
5. Kentucky11-521-8
6. Florida11-621-9
7. Mississippi State8-819-10
7. LSU8-816-13
9. Texas A&M7-916-13
10. Ole Miss7-1020-10
11. Georgia6-1116-14
12. Arkansas5-1114-15
13. Vanderbilt3-138-21
14. Missouri0-178-22


Check out our recap of the first Arkansas vs LSU matchup this season:


More coverage of Arkansas basketball from BoAS…

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