The Arkansas Razorbacks have been remarkably consistent when it comes to the “survive and advance” nature of March Madness of late.
After consecutive Elite Eight runs under head coach Eric Musselman, the Razorbacks are back for more, making the field of 68 for a third straight season with an eye toward reaching the Final Four for the first time in 28 years.
Arkansas’ road to Houston starts with an 8-9 showdown against Illinois on Thursday, in a clash that’ll take place at 3:30 p.m. in Des Moines.
Arkansas sports betting seems to have faith in the Razorbacks, with oddsmakers listing them as a 2.5-point favorite with a -160 moneyline.
A win over the Illini would set the stage for a likely battle against top seed Kansas in the second round — where Arkansas would be trying for its second victory over a No. 1 seed since 2017.
Arkansas-based sportsbook BetSaracen has the Razorbacks listed as +7500 to win the national title after they started the season in the pre-season Associated Press top 10.
Razorbacks Can Achieve School History In 2023
The Razorbacks have never reached the Elite Eight or further in three straight tournaments. Arkansas made it to the Final Four and Elite Eight in 1990 and 1991, then followed that with a run of making the Sweet 16, winning a national title and losing in the title game between 1993 and 1995.
Prior to Musselman’s arrival in 2019, Arkansas had a 23-year stretch of failing to make it past the first weekend of the Big Dance, losing in the second round five times, to go with five first-round exits.
In the interim, the longtime college coach has led the Razorbacks to a 6-2 mark in tournament games, including last year’s wins over Vermont (75-71), New Mexico State (53-48) and Gonzaga (74-68).
If Arkansas is able to reach the program’s third straight Elite Eight, Musselman would achieve more tournament wins (nine) than legendary Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson had in his first four seasons with the school (six).
It also would present the opportunity to match Richardson in taking the Razorbacks to the Final Four in his fourth year with the program, which is one of the few feats Musselman has yet to crack during his eight-year coaching career.
Musselman and the Razorbacks will have their first crack at reaching that plateau on Thursday, going toe-to-toe with one of the Big Ten’s cornerstone programs on college basketball’s biggest stage.
If national operators begin to take bets in the state, BetArkansas will be your home for Arkansas sportsbook promos.