Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Arkansas, Michigan State, and St. John's in need of avoiding a bad loss

Abilene Christian v Arkansas
Abilene Christian v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4) vs. UNC-Wilmington Seahawks (9-2), Sat, Dec 30, 5:00 PM ET, SEC Network

The Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4) have a critically important home game on Saturday against the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks (9-2). For an SEC team the Razorbacks’ non-conference schedule lacks some of the bite of others. They really need to avoid another blemish before they begin SEC play, otherwise their early-season resume may not be looked at in a favorable light by the committee.

Arkansas has a big win over Duke which should only improve as the year goes on, but outside of that, the resume has some holes. They are 0-3 in other quad 1 games and struggled in quad 3 home games against UNC-Greensboro, a 78-72 loss and a narrow 69-66 win over Lipscomb. Arkansas’ strength of schedule is 135th, but with a metrics average of 75.75, they can ill afford unexpected losses.

Outside of the numbers, one thing the Razorbacks have struggled with is the ability to put teams away, no matter who the opponent is. Since beating Gardner-Webb in the second game of the year, they have beaten just two other teams, Furman and Abilene Christian by double digits.

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The Seahawks began the month by going into Rupp Arena and knocking off Kentucky, so going into Bud Walton to end the month with another power-six win won’t phase the road team here. Their metrics don’t sit too far behind the Razorbacks at this point in the season and if that gap closes even further by the time we look on New Year’s Eve, then Arkansas’ at-large hopes will also shrink.