Last Chance For A First Dance

Only one of Arkansas' five seniors has played in the NCAA Tournament and that was with another team and all are hoping a good performance at this week's SEC Tournament will end their careers with a spot in the Big Dance

ATLANTA - The SEC Tournament gets underway at the Georgia Dome Wednesday with a couple of play-in games while Arkansas' players hope Thursday will begin their play-in to the Big Dance.

The Razorbacks (21-10, 10-8) – winners of 8 their last 10 games – will begin tournament play Thursday at 2:30 p.m. CST against the winner of Wednesday's game 6 p.m. lid-lifter between 12th-seeded Auburn (14-15, 6-12) and 13th-seeded South Carolina (12-19, 5-13).

The Razorbacks have not won an SEC game since 2008 – the last time they made the Big Dance.

"I am excited to play," Razorback senior guard Mardracus Wade said. "I didn't know anything about that statistic. We just have to come out ready to play no matter who we play – either Auburn or South Carolina.

"Those guys are going to come out with a lot of fight," Wade said. "Like I been telling the guys, teams play a little different once the tournament starts. They are a little tougher and have a little more energy. We can't go out there with the mindset that we have already beat these teams once. We can't go out there and think it is going to be an easy win. It's not going to be like that."

Arkansas senior guard Fred Gulley is the only current member of the squad to have played in an NCAA Tournament – something he did as a freshman while at Oklahoma State.

"You definitely want to end it on a high by playing in the tournament and we know that we just need to come out here and take it one game at a time," Gulley said. "We know if we just handle our business and come out and play every game like it is our last with the energy that we have done throughout this year then at the end of the day we will be where we need to be. It would definitely be good to go out with the NCAA Tournament. There is no place like the tournament."

The action begins Wednesday with the Auburn-South Carolina game and 11th-seeded Vanderbilt playing Mississippi State in the nightcap.

Wade wants to dance for the first time in his college career.

" It's just been nothing but a blessing, you know, to have a group of guys that come in and work so hard every day just to be a part of a team like this," Wade said. "You know it took four years to get here and it's finally here, but, you know, it's been tough. You just work hard every year and you always come up short.

"Now…it's a sense of urgency, like it's right here within arm's reach and we've just got to grab it, so it definitely makes it kind of nervous," Wade added. "But at the same time, like a good nervous. Happy, like we're going to accomplish something that hasn't been done in a while. So hopefully we can get it done."





Mardracus Wade


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