The 15th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks are seeded fourth in the West region and will open the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament with 13-seed Vermont on Thursday night in Buffalo, N.Y. Tip-off is set for 8:20 p.m. CST.
The NCAA released its March Madness bracket Sunday evening, and as expected, the Hogs are a 4 seed after finishing 25-8 and fourth in the SEC coming off a run to the Elite Eight in 2021. After starting 0-3 in SEC play, the Hogs won 14 of their final 17 games and defeated LSU in the SEC tournament before falling to Texas A&M in the semifinals.
This year’s appearance will mark the program’s 33rd NCAA tournament appearance. The Arkansas-Vermont winner will face either fifth-seeded UConn or 12-seed New Mexico State on Saturday in Buffalo. Gonzaga is the No. 1 seed in the West as well as the overall No. 1 seed; the 2 seed is Duke; and Texas Tech, which fell to the Hogs in a classic second-round game last season, is the 3 seed.
Six SEC teams received invitations to dance including Alabama, which joins the Hogs in the West as the 6 seed. Texas A&M was left out despite winning 23 games and making a run to the SEC championship game that included wins over Arkansas and Auburn.
Vermont, 28-5 overall, won the America East Conference by six games with a 17-1 slate and cruised through its conference tournament, though it should be noted that just four America East teams finished with a winning overall record.
But the Catamounts, who employ a style similar to Colgate, Arkansas’ tough first-round opponent in 2021, already are a trendy pick for many national media pundits to pull a first-round upset. And the proximity of Buffalo should guarantee a sizable Vermont crowd. The Catamounts have been to the NCAA tournament eight times and in 2005, upset Syracuse as — you guessed it — a 13 seed.