On a day when head coach John Pelphrey was told he was being fired, the Arkansas' basketball team should find out tonight whether it's season is over as expected or if they have at least one more game.
The Razorbacks (18-13) will not be in the 68-team NCAA field for a third straight season, but could have their name called for the 32-team NIT, which will select its teams and pairings after the Big Dance participants are announced.
If no bid, seniors Marcus Britt, Delvon Johnson and Jemal Farmer will likely have played their final game as no SEC team has ever accepted a bid to the CBI or College Insider tournaments.
"It means a lot," Britt said of a possible opportunity to play in the NIT. "It's like the snap of a finger and your career is over. I would love to do that – suit up one more time and be a Razorback."
The latest NIT-ology – which dubs itself as taking a look at the other side of the bubble – does not have Arkansas in its projections.
In fact, it has Georgia (as a No. 1 seed) and Ole Miss (as a 5 seed) as the only SEC teams to get a bid to the NIT with Mississippi State and Arkansas projected on the outside looking in.
If that's the case, the Razorback program will play only one post-season game – the SEC Tournament – in each of the last three seasons.
Arkansas' 18-13 record in John Pelphrey's fourth season is an improvement over the last two seasons of 14-16 and 14-18, but obviously not like his rookie season that ended in the NCAA Tournament's second round.
This season ended with a 74-68 loss to Tennessee on Thursday night in the SEC Tournament with the Razorbacks' using a 16-0 run to tie the score late only to see the Vols score the game's last six points.
"It's very hard, me, Delvon and Jemal, it's our last year," Britt said. "They (the underclassman) were trying to win it for us, so it was very emotional."
Junior Rotnei Clarke said that was indeed the case.
"It's their last time and that is what really hurts us is seeing your teammates not being able to get further with them being seniors," Clarke said.
Freshman Mardracus Wade acknowledged the sane sentiment.
"I wanted to win, not just for the team, but for those guys that are leaving…I want them to leave at least knowing that we all just played hard trying to get a win for them," Wade said. "It's kind of sad they end their career here with a loss."
Britt said that the team has tried its best to deal with speculation on Pelphrey's future and just cast it aside.
"We don't get all up into that," Britt said. "We focus on the bigger goal – playing basketball – and that is what we did."
Asked about his opinion of Pelphrey, Britt's answer seemed telling.
"I think Coach (Pelphrey) is a good coach," Britt said. "I think most everybody on the team respects him. I'd do it all over again for real."
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