Teams of the Day: Arkansas and Cornell

    
March 2nd, 2008

Arkansas
19-9 (8-6 SEC West)

Computer numbers (courtesy of kenpom.com): RPI 44, SOS 54 (before Saturday's games)

On a day in which some bubble teams found a way in which to further complicate their situations (Houston, Syracuse and Florida this means you), the Razorbacks took care of business at home in knocking off #14 Vanderbilt 78-73. Four Hogs reached double figures, led by Sonny Weems with twenty, and this game was a virtual must-win for a team that's one of only two in its division with a league record above .500 (Mississippi State is the other at 11-3). As a team, Arkansas shot 58.3% on Saturday, and this is a team with enough size and depth to give a high seed fits if they were to get to the second round of the tournament. But with games at Ole Miss and home to Auburn to close out the regular season, John Pelphrey's bunch can ill afford to drop a game it should (at least on paper) win.

Cornell
20-5 (12-0 Ivy League)

Computer numbers (courtesy of kenpom.com): RPI 69, SOS 221

Congratulations to the Big Red for becoming the first school to officially punch its ticket to the Big Dance. Tonight's 86-53 win over Harvard was also the end of a 20-year stranglehold on the Ivy's automatic bid by traditional powers Pennsylvania and Princeton. So, where does Cornell get seeded come Selection Sunday? As of Friday, ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi gives them a 13, while CHN's Shawn Siegel has them as a 14 seed. That general area, based on their overall record, RPI and current fourteen-game win streak sounds about right. But I do know this: the Big Red will be no one's pushover, especially with forward Ryan Wittman (15.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and guard Louis Dale (3.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.9 apg) leading the way.

On the clock: Arizona, Kentucky and Villanova. All three Wildcats have resume-building opportunities in front of them on Sunday. The fact that they're all on national (in the case of Arizona and Villanova, split coverage) television could magnify the result. A tremendous challenge...but also a tremendous opportunity.