FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Following a 3-0 week in which it was ranked for the first time since 2007, the Arkansas men’s basketball team jumped seven spots to No. 18 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll released on Monday afternoon. The Razorbacks also cracked into the USA Today Coaches poll on Monday, debuting at No. 21.
A week ago, Arkansas earned its first national ranking since November of 2007 and responded with a road win at SMU and double figure home wins against North Texas and MAAC favorite Iona. Arkansas’ 6-0 start is its best since 1997-98 while it completed its first unbeaten November since 2004-05.
One of just 30 unbeaten teams left in the country, Arkansas leads the nation in assists per game at a 20.7 per game clip. Head coach Mike Anderson’s #Fastest40 style of play has brought the Razorbacks’ depth to the forefront, as Arkansas also leads the SEC in scoring (90.0), threes per game (8.8), three-point field goal percentage (.461), steals (9.5), turnover margin (+7.3) and assist/turnover ratio (1.8).
More good news also came on Monday, as junior Michael Qualls garnered his first career SEC Player of the Week honor from the league office after posting back-to-back 20 point games that also included nine rebounds each. Qualls’ 15.3 points per game this season ranks seventh in the SEC and also leads a balanced Arkansas offense that is one of just four programs in the nation to score at least 78 points in each game this season.
After playing six games over a 15-day span, No. 18 Arkansas will now head to No. 20 Iowa State (4-1) on Thursday. The game is part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and will be televised on ESPN2 starting at 8 p.m. CT.
The game will mark the first time Arkansas has played a road game as a ranked team against another ranked team since Dec. 23, 2000 at Oklahoma. The Razorbacks carry an all-time record of 381-101 as a ranked team into Thursday night. The game will mark Arkansas’ first appearance in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge while it will be the fifth meeting between the two programs and the first since 1999.