This time of year tends to bring out all of the knee-jerk reactions, especially when it comes to teams on the NCAA tournament bubble. Win and you’re a “lock” to dance; lose and you’re headed to the NIT. But the fact of the matter is that the selection committee doesn’t go through the process of filling out the bracket with that attitude, and they have to find 36 at-large teams somehow.
That being said, Arkansas didn’t help its case to be included with their 71-69 loss to South Carolina in the second round of the SEC tournament. Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 17 points and Laimonas Chatkevicius added 16 to go along with seven rebounds off the bench. Frank Martin’s team shot just 38.3% from the field and committed 15 turnovers, but they were able to control the boards (40-24 rebounding edge) and score ten more points from the foul line (30-20).
Coty Clarke led four Razorbacks in double figures with 13 points, but they were unable to take advantage of their 19 points off of 15 South Carolina turnovers due to the rebounding and free throw issues. As a result, all that Mike Anderson’s team can do is wait and hope that there’s enough on their resume to earn an at-large bid.
Within SEC play Arkansas’ two best wins came at the expense of Kentucky, and their best non-conference wins came against fellow bubble teams SMU and Minnesota. With an RPI of 58 entering Thursday’s action and a resume away from Fayetteville that isn’t all that impressive, the Razorbacks and their fans won’t rest easy in the days leading up to Selection Sunday.
But even with that being the case the fact that the committee has to find 36 teams means that there’s still some hope for Arkansas, regardless of how slim that may be.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.