Busting Brackets

Arkansas Basketball: Is a national championship in the cards for Razorbacks next season?

Coaches, along with sports programs, are never judged it seems by their steadfast progress in continually winning but in "what have you done for me lately?" College coaches in sports such as football and basketball can have great records overall and consistently win with their programs and even reach the pinnacle of their sport by winning an NCAA national championship. However, if that title is more than a couple of years old, fans and pundits alike tend to conveniently "forget" about the years of winning and ask the inevitable question about current title runs or the lack thereof. We tend to expect the top NCAA men's basketball programs to win it all every single year and if these programs don't make the Final Four every single season, are there coaches "failures?"
University of Arkansas Introduces John Calipari
University of Arkansas Introduces John Calipari / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Whether fans like it or not, the University of Arkansas is considered a football school primarily. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is the predominant collegiate football conference in the land and Arkansas has hitched its wagon to the trials and tribulations of being in the SEC. Despite the reputation of the Razorbacks being a football school, the reality is this: Arkansas won their one and only football national championship in 1964, sixty years ago. Now, move the clock forward another thirty years and you may recall that Arkansas won their one and only national men's basketball championship in 1994, which begs the question: is Arkansas really a basketball school?

If new head coach John Calipari has anything to say about it, he will make sure his mission in life this upcoming season is to make Arkansas men's basketball a household name in the sports world. Whatever you may think of him, Calipari has been successful in so many ways at every stop in his coaching career and left the University of Kentucky with a 2012 national championship and numerous Final Four appearances. Again, the Wildcats haven't been to the Final Four since 2019 so is the current success "metric" an accurate tool on the legacy that Calipari left behind at UK?

One of the telltale signs that Arkansas men's basketball is on the rise is the fact that the program and its new head coach have the seal of approval from none less than Nolan Richardson himself. In case you're scratching your head, it was Richardson who led the Razorbacks to their lone national championship back in 1994 and remains a basketball legend in many coaching circles.

According to ESPN, Richardson has endorsed what John Calipari is trying to do to rebuild the Razorback basketball program and sees a possible title run coming to Fayetteville. With a boisterous fan faithful behind him, Calipari has set out to not only rebuild Arkansas basketball but make it the gem of the SEC this upcoming season, possibly as a thorn in the side of the University of Kentucky, who by the way is his former employer and a fellow SEC member school.

It should be noted that on the Names, Images and Likeness (NIL) front, the University of Arkansas should be blessed with corporate assistance as Fayetteville does set on the front porch of none other than this little company we call Wal-Mart. With other major companies in the Fayetteville neighborhood, the Razorbacks should have no problems competing on the NIL front and this should translate to additional recruiting tools for this season and beyond.

Suppose recruiting was part of the metric to decide the basketball national championship next season. In that case, the University of Arkansas under John Calipari's tutelage is already on its way to staking a claim at the title. With recruiting victories abounding, including signing Boogie Fland away from Kentucky, along with transfer portal commitments from former UK Wildcat Zvonimir Ivisic, Tennessee's Jonas Aidoo, and Johnell Davis from Florida Atlantic (and 2023 Final Four appearance), the Razorbacks are not only looking for a rebound from last season but legitimately looking to an NCAA tournament bid at the minimum for the upcoming 2024-25 campaign.

Next. Top 30 players in the transfer portal. Top 30 players in the transfer portal. dark

247 Sports has ranked the Arkansas basketball program as the number three overall recruiting program this season in the country - a sign that the Razorbacks could well be SEC contenders this coming year and beyond.