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Listen to Hogs in NCAA on ESPN Arkansas stations around state

Razorbacks can’t rely on success from last two years to mean a thing this year because everybody is good.



Who: No. 8 seed Arkansas Razorbacks (20-13) vs No. 9 seed Illinois Fighting Illini (20-12)
What: Arkansas is playing in its third straight NCAA Tournament and earned its 36th overall NCAA bid.
When: Thursday, March 16, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Arena (16,110) in Des Moines, Iowa
Television: TBS (Brian Anderson, Jim Jackson, Allie LaForce)
Radio: ESPN Arkansas 99.5 in Fayetteville, 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home (Chuck Barrett and Matt Zimmerman)
Sirius/XM National Broadcast: 136 (Sirius) / 206 (XM) || SXM App: Channel 967

DES MOINES, Iowa — Everybody is hoping Arkansas coach Eric Musselman can complete a run like the previous two years that made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.

That starts this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in Des Moines, Iowa, on TBS, on the radio at ESPN Arkansas 99.5 in Fayetteville, 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home with Chuck Barrett and Matt Zimmerman.

The Razorbacks, the No. 8 seed in the West Region, will face No. 9 seed Illinois in the first round and the winner will likely face Kansas on Saturday.

The only problem for fans is the last two years has absolutely nothing to do with this year’s team, that is more or less stumbling into the tournament based on some good wins in October and November.

“Everybody that you would potentially play in the NCAA Tournament is a really good team,” Hogs coach Eric Musselman said. “That’s why they’re in this tournament. Certainly, Illinois is really well coached. They have some guys that we’ve played before like Terrence Shannon, who was at Texas Tech and obviously Matthew Mayer from Baylor. They’ve got some really good transfers. It’s an excellent shot-blocking team. But anybody from the Big Ten that qualifies for the NCAA Tournament is a really good team.” 

• Arkansas earns its 36th NCAA bid and 3rd straight. It is the first time since 2006, ’07, and ’08 that the Hogs have played in three consecutive NCAA Tournaments. Arkansas advanced to the NCAA Elite 8 in each of the last two years. In 2021, Arkansas lost In the Elite 8 to eventual national champion Baylor. In 2022, Arkansas upset #1 overall seed Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 before falling to Duke in the Elite 8.

• The Razorbacks own a 48-34 all-time record in NCAA action.

• This is the third time in program history Arkansas has received a No. 8 seed. Arkansas won its NCAA opener as an 8-seed in 2017 (vs Seton Hall). In 2006 as the 8-seed, Arkansas lost its opener to Bucknell.

• Arkansas is 18-8 in NCAA Tournament first round games (including a loss in a “2nd round game” in 2015 when the “first four” were considered the 1st round).

• Arkansas and Illinois have met on five previous occasions and the Illini have won all five. The first meeting (Dec. 14, 1949) was played in Champaign and the other four were played in “home” neutral sites (Little Rock for Arkansas and Chicago for Illinois) in a four-game “home-and-home” from 2001-2004.

• Arkansas has never played in Des Moines. Arkansas has only played in the state of Iowa on two previous occasions, both coming Ames versus Iowa State. First, Arkansas lost the Cyclones, 86-77, on 12/14/70 and lost at ISU, 95-77, in the 2015 SEC-Big 12 Challenge.