Baylor beats Arkansas 81-72 for first Final Four in 71 years
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)INDIANAPOLIS – Baylor had been on the cusp of the Final Four twice before under coach Scott Drew, falling to the eventual champion both times. Baylor is headed there for the first time in 71 years, getting 22 points from MaCio Teague and a dominating defensive performance from Davion Mitchell to beat Arkansas 81-72 on Monday night. The top-seeded Bears (26-2) appeared to be barreling toward ending their Final Four drought with a dominating start. That left the Bears short of the Final Four dating back to when the bracket was only eight teams. He gave Arkansas all kinds of trouble on the pick-and-roll in the second half, finishing with 12 points and six assists.
Davis' jumper gives Arkansas 72-70 win over Oral Roberts
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)INDIANAPOLIS – Davonte Davis hit a short jumper with 2.9 seconds left, and Arkansas advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 26 years with a 72-70 win over Oral Roberts in the South Region semifinals Saturday night. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight, Oral Roberts stumbled with a series of turnovers and missed shots. Oral Roberts knew it had a chance to top it against the Razorbacks after playing them earlier in the season. Oral Roberts led by 10 at halftime in Fayetteville on Dec. 20 before Arkansas bullied the Golden Eagles in the second half for an 87-76 win. Arkansas chipped the lead down to four midway through and finally caught, then passed, the Golden Eagles into the Elite Eight.
Smith, Arkansas hold off Texas Tech 68-66 in NCAA 2nd round
Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 20 points for Texas Tech (18-11), which struggled with its shot for a long stretch only to regain its touch right as Arkansas seemed poised to pull away. The Red Raiders climbed back with an 11-0 run, which included Chibuzo Agbo banking in a straightaway 3-pointer to bring Texas Tech within 58-57 with 5:30 left. AdThe Red Raiders — finalists in the 2019 tournament — also had two late chances to take the lead in the final 2 minutes. “Obviously kind of a classic NCAA Tournament game,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. Smith had 29 points in that one, then came through again by making 9 of 11 shots with six rebounds against the defensive-minded Red Raiders.
Arkansas shuts down Colgate 85-68 in NCAA opener
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)INDIANAPOLIS – The night before his team's NCAA Tournament opener, Arkansas coach Eric Musselman sat in a hotel room and talked with his son about using full-court pressure against Colgate. Call it “24 Minutes of Hell.”Justin Smith had 29 points and 13 rebounds, and Arkansas shut down high-scoring Colgate to open the NCAA Tournament with an 85-68 win on Friday. Arkansas seemed to have met its revved-up match against Colgate, the small liberal arts school from central New York. Colgate reached the NCAA Tournament in 2019 by picking up the scoring pace and are back again this year after scoring 86.3 points per game, second nationally. Arkansas' athleticism, particularly on defense, turned out to be too much for the Raiders to overcome.
Pick Six: Unusual teams hallmark of NCAA Tournament
Jalen Tate spent four years at Norther Kentucky, where he made an NCAA Tournament appearance, and Connor Vanover, who began his season at California. His teammate, Tanner Groves, wound up being league MVP — yet wasn't even an all-Big Sky pick before the season. They're a tough team to guard.”BIG MOMENTS, BIG SHOTSMount St. Mary's will likely be long gone by next week. He scored the final seven points to beat Central Connecticut State, then did the same thing against Long Island. In the Northeast Conference final, he scored 17 of 21 points after halftime to book an NCAA trip.
Pick Six: Veterans to watch as NCAA Tournament begins
(AP Photo/Chase Stevens)INDIANAPOLIS – There has never been a better time to have senior leadership in the NCAA Tournament than this season. AdVirginia intends to play after withdrawing from the ACC Tournament because of COVID-19 protocols, which means fans will get to say Sam Hauser running the show. Dru Smith is their leading scorer and Jeremiah Tilmon finally reached his potential this season, and both aim to help Missouri snap a four-game NCAA Tournament skid. Herb Jones is an All-American candidate and Jaden Shackelford is Alabama's leading scorer, but John Petty Jr. makes the SEC Tournament champs go. Then there's Tennessee forward John Fulkerson, who sustained facial fractures in an SEC Tournament win over Florida and underwent surgery Sunday.
No. 20 Arkansas’ big run flusters No. 6 Alabama
– It had been nearly a quarter-century since Arkansas had played a ranked team at home, let alone beaten one there. 20 Arkansas ended both those droughts Wednesday night, beating sixth-ranked Alabama, 81-66. Arkansas hasn’t lost an SEC game since. Arkansas’ big run clearly flustered Alabama, resulting in Petty picking up a technical foul after arguing a no-call with 6:55 left. AdBIG PICTUREAlabama still sits comfortably atop the SEC standings with a two-game lead over the next closest team, Arkansas.
The Latest: Virus scraps Arkansas-A&M game; Aggies on pause
There is no need to worry about geography in this year's NCAA Tournament. The Aggies said Friday they were prepared to play the home game with a limited roster, but a new positive COVID-19 test along with subsequent contact tracing forced the postponement. Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said his team found out about the postponement while boarding the bus to travel to College Station. Musselman says his team is working with the Southeastern Conference to see if it can add a nonconference game. ___A limited number of fans will be allowed to attend all rounds of next month’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Indiana.