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Arkansas Home Loss A Hit To Pelphrey

Last night on Arkansas’ home floor, Mississippi State toppled the Hogs 88-78 and locked up the West’s #2 seed — and the bye that goes with it — for next week’s SEC Tournament.  The loss could prove damaging to Razorback coach John Pelphrey’s long-term stability at the school.

Earlier this week, ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb said on a radio show in Kansas City that the Arkansas job would come open and that UA officials would chase former Nolan Richardson assistant Mike Anderson as Pelphrey’s replacement.  He later tweeted that Pelphrey needs “to dance” to save his job.

The Hogs are on the verge of a 20-win season (18-11) and could still finish with a .500 record in the SEC.  But a win last night in a big game against a so-so foe would have no doubt aided Pelphrey’s job security.

Ask someone in the Arkansas media what they’re hearing and you’ll get several different takes.  The sources of our sources all seem to have different tales to tell.  “Pelphrey’s done.”  “UA can’t afford to keep him with fans staying away.”  “Pelphrey will definitely be back.”  “UA can’t afford to fire him and bring in someone else with all of the money they’re spending on football.”

It’s anyone’s guess at this point whether Pelphrey will return for a sixth season in Fayetteville next year.  In his favor is a Top 10 recruiting class.  If he can reach the 20-win plateau and make a run in the SEC tourney and then the NIT, his chances figure to improve. 

But last night’s loss in a winnable game at home hurts.  No question about it.


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