FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – On the eve of facing former Southwest Conference rival SMU, the Arkansas men’s basketball team earned first national ranking since November of 2007 as it came in at No. 25 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll released on Monday.
The Razorbacks earned votes in each of the first two weeks in the AP and USA Today Coaches polls, but the No. 25 ranking is the program’s first top 25 appearance since it was No. 18 heading into the 2007 Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Off to its third straight 3-0 start, Arkansas’ unbeaten opening week of play was highlighted by a 30-point win, 83-53, over ACC foe Wake Forest at Bud Walton Arena. It marks the first time since 2004-05 that Arkansas has won its first three games by 18+ points. The Razorbacks’ last two opponents have a combined 44 turnovers and 44 field goals and Arkansas has forced its opponents into double-digit turnovers in four of six halves with at least nine in every half.
Arkansas returned six of its top seven scorers from last year’s club that won 22 games and advanced to the second round of the NIT under head coach Mike Anderson. Preseason Wooden Watch List member sophomore Bobby Portis leads the team in both scoring (16.0) and rebounding (5.7), while eight different players have already reached double figures to help Arkansas lead the SEC and rank eighth in the nation in scoring at 93 points per night.
Heading to Dallas to face SMU on Tuesday, the Razorbacks will look to open the season 4-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 campaign and have won three of their last five regular season road contests dating back to last season. Arkansas has won 12 in a row against SMU, including the last six in Dallas.