Arkansas aims to make late tourney run, faces lowly Vanderbilt

Is it too late for Arkansas to live up to its preseason Top 25 ranking and make a run toward an NCAA Tournament berth?The Razorbacks’ record of 14-13 overall and 5-9 in the Southeastern Conference suggests no. The schedule’s remainder says something else, however, particularly if Arkansas takes care of business Tuesday night in Fayetteville when it hosts SEC foe Vanderbilt (7-20, 2-12).Beating the Commodores would set Arkansas up for a stretch run that includes Quad 1 road games against Kentucky and Alabama. If the Razorbacks do what on paper doesn’t appear likely, they would head to the SEC Tournament with a six-game winning streak and multiple Quad 1 road wins in their pocket.Unlikely, perhaps, but stranger things have happened. Such as Khalif Battle scoring a career-high 42 points in Saturday’s 88-73 home win over Missouri. Battle was 11-of-15 shooting from the field, 6 of 10 on 3-pointers and 14 of 14 at the foul line.”This is the best because it’s on the big stage,” said Battle, whose previous career high was 32 points and came three years ago. “This is the SEC, and no game is easy.”Meanwhile, Vanderbilt continued its season-long struggle Saturday in a 77-64 defeat at Florida. The Commodores have lost three straight by an average of 20 points since upsetting Texas A&M 74-73 on Feb. 13.