Who: Arkansas Razorbacks (19-12) vs. Auburn Tigers (20-11)
What: This will be just the second time Arkansas and Auburn have met at the SEC Tournament.
When: Thursday, March 9, 6 p.m.
Where: Bridgestone Arena (18,500) in Nashville, Tenn.
Television: SEC Network (Tom Hart, Dane Bradshaw, Alyssa Lange)
Listen Online: HitThatLine.com
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)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Auburn coach Bruce Pearl may still be shaking his head after a strong finish that pits Arkansas for them first in the SEC Tournament tonight at 6 p.m.
“The reward for such a job well done is we get to play the 18th-best team in the country according to the NET,” Pearl joked this week. “Arkansas is seeded 10th in the SEC Tournament, but based on the NET they are the 18th seed in the NCAA Tournament. Now you go figure that one. So, what a great reward.”
The Razorbacks opener in the tournament will be televised on the SEC Network. You can listen online in ESPN Arkansas coverage around the state at HitThatLine.com or on the radio at 99.5 in Fayetteville, 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs and 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home.
The pregame with Chuck Barrett and Matt Zimmerman gets under way at 5:30 p.m.
• This will be the 59th meeting between Arkansas and Auburn. All but one (a meeting in the 1967-68 season in Oklahoma City) have come since Arkansas joined the SEC. The Razorbacks own a 37-21 advantage in the series.
• This will be the second neutral site meeting between the school. As mentioned, Auburn won the first-ever meeting 65-58 in Oklahoma City back in late December. The other came on March 2000, when Arkansas defeated Auburn, 75-67, in Atlanta to win the SEC Tournament championship.
• Earlier this year, Auburn snapped a three-game Razorback win streak but Arkansas has still won 13 of the last 18.
• Arkansas is 29-29 all-time in the SEC Tournament.
• This will be just the second time Arkansas has faced Auburn in the SEC Tournament. The Razorbacks defeated the Tigers, 75-67, in the 2000 title game at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome for the Hogs’ lone SEC Tournament championship. (Arkansas has finished runner-up five times.)
• This will be the 11th year the SEC Tournament will be held in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Arkansas is 8-9 all-time in Bridgestone Arena, reaching the finals twice (2015 and 2017) and the semifinals twice (2001 and 2021).
• Thanks to 513 points this year and ranking third in the SEC in scoring (16.5 ppg), Ricky Council IV is just two points shy of 1,000 for his career
• Arkansas is shooting 39.3% (33-of-84) from 3-point range in the last five games with the full return of Nick Smith Jr.. In the last 5 games, Smith is 11-of-29 (37.9%) from 3-point and his presence has allowed the rest of the team to be 22-of-55 (40%). Prior to Smith’s full-time return (thru A&M), Arkansas was shooting 30.6% from 3-point range (and ranked 324th in the NCAA). Since Smith’s return (last 5 games), Arkansas has improved to 32.1% from 3-point range (and climbed to 289th in the NCAA).
• In addition to shooting the ball well from 3-point range over the last five, Arkansas is having its best run of success guarding the 3-point arc over the last five. Opponents are shooting a mere 23.2% (21-of-91) from deep including Florida making just 4-of-21 (19%) and Alabama making just 3-of-22 (13.6%).