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Arkansas through the years.

While many would consider Arkansas a football school, the school does have a fine basketball tradition. The Razorbacks are 37-29 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, ranking #17 in all-time Tournament wins. Arkansas has been to the Final Four six times (1941, 1945, 1978, 1990, 1994, 1995) and won the NCAA title in 1994. Arkansas was the dominant basketball program of the old Southwest Conference, winning the conference title 22 times before moving to the SEC in 1991-92.
One thing Arkansas has in common with IU? Acrimonious relationships with former coaches and general coaching upheaval. The fallout after the Knight firing in 2000 is well-known around here. In 2002, Nolan Richardson, who led the Hogs to three Final Four appearances and the 1994 title, was ousted amid his accusations of racially discriminatory treatment by the university. Richardson sued the university unsuccessfully. Knight and Richardson are somewhat unusual as NCAA champion coaches who are on the outs with the schools where they had their greatest success. Arkansas hired Stan Heath in 2002. Heath is best known among IU fans for leading the Kent State team that lost to IU in the 2002 South Regional final. Heath was let go after last season, and Creighton coach Dana Altman was introduced as the new Arkansas coach before backing out within a day or so.
  • From 1990 through 1996, Arkansas reached the Sweet 16 or beyond 6 times in 7 seasons. Arkansas hasn't played on the second weekend since then.
  • Arkansas's current coach is John Pelphrey, a former Kentucky player who was a member of "the Unforgettables," Kentucky's 1992 team that exceeded all expectations and is best remembered for losing in the 1992 Elite Eight on Christian Laettner's shot.
  • Arkansas has lost in the first round in its last four NCAA Tournament appearances. The Hogs last won a Tournament game in 1999 (Siena). Arkansas last defeated a team from one of the six "power conferences" in 1998 (Nebraska in the first round).
  • On the flip side, IU has now won four consecutive first round games (Utah in 2002, Alabama in 2003, San Diego State in 2006, and Gonzaga in 2007). IU's last first round loss was to Kent State in 2001.
  • IU won its first game of the Tournament in nine consecutive appearances from 1973 through 1984. After winning in the first round in his first nine NCAA appearances, Bob Knight went 8-7 in the first round from 1986-2000. Mike Davis and Kelvin Sampson then went 4-1 from 2001-2007.
  • Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, this is the seventh time IU has faced a "power conference" opponent in Round 1. IU is 2-4 with wins over Oklahoma (1998) and Alabama (2003) and with losses to California (1990), Missouri (1995), Boston College (1996), and Colorado (1997).
  • Arkansas is 4-1 all time in NCAA Tournament games against Big Ten opponents: Arkansas beat Purdue (second round 1983), Iowa (first round 1985), Michigan (regional final 1994), and Penn State (first round 1996) and lost to Iowa (second round 1999).
  • IU is 9-2 all time in NCAA Tournament games against SEC opponents. IU beat LSU (national semifinals in 1953), LSU (1954 consolation game), Tennessee (1955 consolation game), Kentucky (1973 regional final), Alabama (1976 Sweet 16), LSU (1981 national semifinal), LSU (1987 regional final), LSU (1992 second round), and Alabama (2003 first round). IU lost to Kentucky in the 1975 regional final and the 1983 Sweet 16.
  • Beating an SEC team historically is a good omen for the Hoosiers. IU has defeated an SEC team en route to six of its eight Final Four appearances and four of five NCAA championships. Indeed, setting aside the 1954 and 1955 consolation game wins, the 2003 win over Alabama is the only win over an SEC team that didn't lead to a Final Four bid.