Razorbacks rise 5 spots in latest AP poll

Arkansas' Stanley Umude celebrates a 3-point basket during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Missouri on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in Columbia, Mo. Arkansas won 76-57. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas continued to climb in The Associated Press Top 25 on Monday.

Following a 76-57 road win at Missouri and 58-48 home victory over then-No. 16 Tennessee, the Razorbacks jumped five spots in the poll to No. 18. It is the first time Arkansas has been ranked in back-to-back weeks since early December.

The Razorbacks last week improved to 21-6 overall and moved within one game of Kentucky for second place in the conference at 10-4.

“We’re not always cosmetically pleasing offensively,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said Saturday. “But, man, do we play hard. When I say we play hard, I’m talking about the last month and a half. I’m just going to keep saying it: Nobody plays harder in the country than this team does right now.

“What we’re doing right now is not easy. … I’m overly pleased with how we’re playing.”

In the win over the Tigers, the Razorbacks placed five players in double figures, led by Stanley Umude’s 23 points on 6 of 9 from three-point range. Against the Volunteers, Jaylin Williams stood out with a 13-point, 16-rebound double-double to go with 4 charges taken.

Arkansas defeated Tennessee by 10 points despite posting its lowest offensive efficiency rating of the season (85.3), according to KenPom data.

This week, the Razorbacks travel to Florida on Tuesday and host Kentucky on Saturday. The Gators knocked off then-No. 2 Auburn 63-62 over the weekend, and the No. 4 Wildcats handled Alabama 90-81 for their seventh win in eight games.

Arkansas has lost its last 14 road games against Florida, last beating the Gators in Gainesville in February 1995.

"Every game is just a basketball game to us, so we're not going to think about that,” Williams said. “We're not the teams before that went there. We're going to go into that game confident and ready to play and just be energetic as a team."

Other SEC teams in this week’s poll are Auburn (3), Kentucky (6), Tennessee (17) and Alabama (24).

Arkansas’ ranking in AP poll in 2021-22

Preseason — 16

Nov. 15 — 16

Nov. 22 — 13

Nov. 29 — 10

Dec. 6 — 12

Dec. 13 — 24

Dec. 20 — NR, 9 voting points

Dec. 27 — NR, 0 voting points

Jan. 3 — NR, 0 voting points

Jan. 10 — NR, 0 voting points

Jan. 17 — NR, 0 voting points

Jan. 24 — NR, 0 voting points

Jan. 31 — NR, 7 voting points

Feb. 7 — NR, 74 voting points

Feb. 14 — 23

Feb. 21 — 18