On Sunday, the Razorbacks did something they hadn’t done in six years: get off to a 2-0 start in conference play. Tonight, against the South Carolina Gamecocks, Arkansas will be aiming for its first 3-0 SEC start since …. (drumroll, please) … Jan. 14, 1998, back in the days of Kareem Reid, Pat Bradley, Derek Hood and Nicky Davis.
At that point in time, Houston Dale Nutt was in the first weeks of his job as Razorback football coach, we had yet to hear the name Monica Lewinsky (although the day those Hogs suffered their first conference loss was the day Bill Clinton gave his infamous deposition in the Paula Jones lawsuit) and Roger Maris still held the single-season home-run record.
Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?
And what, you ask, became of that 1998 Razorback team? Well, after losing their fourth SEC game, they peeled off six straight wins to race out to a 9-1 conference record (unfortunately, I was there in person to witness their second SEC loss, which came at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens). However, they slumped down the stretch, losing four of their last six conference games to finish SEC play at 11-5.
Arkansas made the NCAA Tournament that year as a sixth seed in the West Regional and defeated Nebraska and then gave eventual national runner-up Utah all the Runnin’ Utes could handle before falling by a score of 75-69.
By the incredible standards that Nolan Richardson had set in the early and mid-1990s, it wasn’t a particularly remarkable season. But, given the last five or so years of Arkansas hoops, I imagine most Razorback fans would take a similar performance by this year’s Hogs in a heartbeat.
Note: stats are courtesy of the Razorback Basketball Media Guide.
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