FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas basketball team hoped for one more chance to keep its season alive after the 75-72 loss to Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference Tournament last Thursday night.
But the Razorbacks didn’t get their wish Sunday.
Arkansas was not among the 32 teams selected to participate in the 2013 National Invitational Tournament on Sunday night. Arkansas was left out of the field, while three other SEC teams left out of the NCAA Tournament field earlier Sunday received invitations (Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee) to play in the NIT.
It likely ends Arkansas’ season at 19-13 and without a postseason trip for the fifth straight year. The CBI Tournament field has not been announced, but Arkansas isn’t expected to participate in the pay-to-play field.
The last time the Razorbacks played in a postseason tournament was 2008, when Arkansas reached the NCAA Tournament under former coach John Pelphrey.
Arkansas can blame its road record for this season’s disappointing end. The Razorbacks went 18-1 in games played inside the state, but 1-12 elsewhere. The only win came at Auburn, which finished last in the SEC this season.
“Everybody has to give the same team effort,” Arkansas freshman Michael Qualls said about the road woes after the Vanderbilt loss last Thursday. “We’ve got to be brothers on the court. I felt like a lot of games that we lost, we kind of dispersed. At home we didn’t have that problem because we had the crowd behind us and it kind of kept us together. But away, it’s a different story.”
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson was not available Sunday. But the 2012-13 season’s likely end means Anderson and Arkansas now faces some offseason questions.
The biggest, arguably, is the status of leading scorers Marshawn Powell and BJ Young for next season. The duo will consider leaving the program to begin professional basketball careers. Both were asked about the future before the SEC Tournament and said they wouldn’t make decisions until after the season.