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Getting fans leaving Rupp Arena early will be strong impression in March

Razorbacks storm past Kentucky, 88-73, that had fans on their feet leaving, an image that will stick for awhile.



Arkansas coach Eric Musselman probably saw folks leaving Rupp Arena with over four minutes left in Tuesday night’s game.

That is something not seen very often.

But that’s what the Razorbacks did in an 88-73 win over Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., going to 17-5 overall, 6-5 in the SEC and landing a sixth straight win.

More importantly it was a second Quad 1 win, which is a big deal when it comes to determining who gets seeded where in the NCAA Tournament.

The Hogs are one of the hottest teams in college basketball.

On a rainy day in Fayetteville where almost nobody was expecting a double-digit win going on the road against the Wildcats most of the swirling talk was about getting a player back that hasn’t set foot on the court in months.

Instead, they saw Ricky Council IV finally start scoring again, getting 20 points and freshman point guard Anthony Black putting up 19 along with five assists and four rebounds.

“This is a team that is getting much more confident offensively,” Hogs coach Eric Musselman said later. “Defensively, we got much better in the second half.”

The Hogs, who have had an uncanny knack at times for blowing second-half leads, saw that offensive confidence pay off with Davonte Davis and Makhel Mitchell (5 blocked shots and 15 points) doing it on both ends.

When the second half started with the Hogs getting turnovers and a couple of breakway dunks by Black you got the feeling this game might be a little different.

Every time Kentucky made a little run to get within 10 points, the Arkansas offensive answered and pushed the lead back.

The Wildcats, who have been struggling all year for any kind of consistency, picked a bad night to struggle again.

This Razorback team wasn’t letting go of the rope.

We’ve said all along, just be patient because Musselman’s teams usually get it figured out every year about this time.

This is when it matters.

Finally getting above .500 in league play is one thing. Downing Kentucky by double digits at Rupp Arena will mean a lot when it gets behind closed doors putting together the bracket in March.

As we’ve said over and over, this is when it really counts.

Because March is the Hogs’ goal every year.

And fans in blue leaving Rupp with four minutes to go in the game says a lot and leaves an impression that will be remembered by people deciding who lands where in that bracket.

Whether Musselman wants to admit it or not.


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