A great season for UALR
That’s a story that has been somewhat overlooked here in the Natural State as the team’s excellent performance has been overshadowed by Arkansas Razorback Basketball Coach John Pelphrey’s troubles throughout the season. As anyone who has been awake and breathing in Arkansas knows, Pelphrey was handed his walking papers on Sunday and the team is searching for his replacement.
Meanwhile, Steve Shields — the head coach of UALR — has led his team to a great season and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Yes, it was a brief appearance, but UALR did make it and that’s well worth mentioning.
Bear in mind that UALR had a rotten season last year, having won just seven games and finishing last in the Sun Belt West. The Trojans’ fortunates changed dramatically this season, however, as the team went 19-17 overall and won the Sun Belt Tournament.
That performance was good enough to net the Trojans a 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament and an appearance in the “first look” round established to let four teams battle it out to see which two will make the field of 64 going for the championship. UALR lost in overtime tonight — 81-77 — to UNC Asheville (who will go on to face top seed Pittsburgh on Thursday).
While it would have been great to see UALR secure an overtime win, there’s no denying the team had a season of which the players, coaches, fans and college should be proud. UALR hasn’t been to he NCAA Tournament in 21 years and you just know that scrappy club will do all it can to make sure another couple of decades won’t pass before its next appearance.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.