Arkansas Razorback Basketball: Can The Comeback Kids Keep It Going?

Blake StansberyCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2010

The Arkansas Razorback basketball team was behind before the season ever started.

Mass suspensions led the team to play with single digit scholarship players for most of the first half of the season, and before you knew it, the Hogs had dug themselves into a deep hole heading into SEC play.

Arkansas came into SEC play with a sub .500 record and right out of the gate, their first seven games would be the toughest portion of their league schedule. Talk about kicking someone when they're down, right?

Four games into the stretch, the Hogs sat at 1-3 and it looked like the Hogs were going to repeat their 2-14 league performance of a year ago, but not so fast.

The Hogs have since won three games straight, with two on the road, to position themselves at the top of the SEC West at 4-3.

The two road wins came after the Hogs failed to win a single SEC road game last year—now Arkansas has won two straight.

In each of the Hogs four SEC victories, they trailed in the second half and by large double digit deficits in three of them.

What has been even more impressive is that each comeback has been made in different ways.

In one game, Rotnei Clarke made big shots to lead the Razorbacks to a victory.

In another, Courtney Fortson puts the team on his back and becomes a one man wrecking crew.

Next, the struggling Michael Washington wills the Razorbacks to a win with his experience.

Also, you have a true freshman in Marshawn Powell pounding out victories with his raw talent.

Yes, the Razorbacks (and many Arkansas fans scared to watch right now) may not know it yet, but this group is becoming a basketball team. A team that is capable of winning ball games in a variety of ways.

If four wins can come in so many different ways, you have the makings of a team with trust and growing confidence. Trust and confidence in each other and that the man next to you will make the shot that will lead the team to a victory.

The Hogs' fight and determination are likely traits of John Pelphrey rubbing off on the young, but maturing group of players.

A large group of "Fire John" enthusiasts are not going to like this assumption, but it often is the case of players to take on traits of their head coach during times of adversity.

Pelphrey knows a thing or two about dealing with adversity as a player because of his part on a team Kentucky Wildcat fans dubbed "The Unforgettables."

This infamous Kentucky group of players led the Wildcats deep into the NCAA tournament in 1992, where they fell to Duke in what many call the greatest college basketball game of all time. 

Pelphrey and three other Kentucky seniors, all from small Kentucky towns, composed this group that fought through some of the leanest years in Kentucky basketball history due to scandal and sanctions.

Pelphrey's experience in such situations could be a blessing in disguise as the Arkansas basketball program is attempting to come out of some of its darkest years.

There is no crystal ball to tell us if the Razorbacks can keep making improbable comeback victories night after night in SEC play. It may be cliche', but on any given night you can lose in the SEC.

If the Razorbacks continue to play with the heart they have shown against all the odds they have faced so far in this season, it  may very well end up being a special season. Win or lose, if they show that determination, they will find a place in the hearts of all the Razorback fans that watch them.

Saturday, the Razorbacks host the Auburn Tigers at Bud Walton Arena. Attendance has been its lowest in years with the Razorbacks early season struggles, but expect to see the largest crowd of the year on hand to give it up for their "comeback kids."

Whether the Razorbacks can keep it up the rest of the season is all up to them, but heart and winning gets butts back in the seats.


This article was written by Blake Stansbery of Born Hog Wild.

Follow Born Hog Wild on Twitter @BornHogWild.