Arkansas to face Illinois in first round of NCAA Tournament

Arkansas guard Ricky Council IV (1) dunks on Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The Arkansas men’s basketball team will play in the program’s third consecutive NCAA Tournament under head coach Eric Musselman.

The Hogs were seeded No. 8 in the West Region, and will play No. 9 Illinois in Des Moines, Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 16. The game will be televised on TBS.

The winner of the Arkansas-Illinois game will likely play No. 1 Kansas on Saturday, as the reigning champion Jayhawks face No. 16 Howard in the first round.

The Razorbacks are coming off back-to-back NCAA Elite 8 berths. The Hog’s three consecutive tournament appearances are the program’s first since 2006-08.

Arkansas has now earned 36 NCAA bids, and this year marks the program’s third time to be ranked as a No. 8 seed.

Arkansas won 20 games during the regular season this year for the fourth straight time under fourth-year head coach Eric Musselman. It’s Musselman’s eight 20-win season in eight years as a collegiate coach. It’s also the sixth straight year that Musselman has led his teams to an NCAA Tournament, not counting 2020 when the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic.