What Bruce Pearl's Auburn basketball program accomplished against Arkansas on January 6, 2024, was "unheard of" according to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein -- who added that the 2023-24 Razorbacks are not Eric Musselman's best group.
This may not be Eric Musselman's best team at Arkansas, but what Auburn did today at Bud Walton Arena is unheard of," Rothstein prefaced before saying, "Anxious to see if Bruce Pearl's team will eventually join Kentucky and Tennessee atop the SEC."
AU wouldn't have been able to destroy the Hogs 83-51 at the Bud Walton Arena -- breaking the all-time record for biggest against Arkansas in Fayetteville ever -- without a monster 46-point bench effort from the Tigers led by Chad Baker-Mazara (16 points, 5/9 shooting, 2/3 3PT, four rebounds, three assists) and Tre Donaldson (11 points, 5/6 shooting, six rebounds, four assists). Collectively, AU shot 39% from beyond the arc on 18 attempts.
That's how you put on historic beatdowns.
Bruce Pearl had called Arkansas biggest Auburn basketball challenge of season
Pearl had called Arkansas Auburn's biggest challenge during the 2023-24 season prior to the one-sided affair in Fayetteville.
"Probably not a tougher place to open (SEC play)," Pearl said on January 4 (h/t Auburnundercover). “I'd say this will be the toughest challenge of the year. This is the most talented team we've played. This team is more talented than Baylor. They've got more depth and they were preseason picked third in our league. Not everybody will be able to go to Arkansas and have a chance. We hope to be able to be a team that can go on the road and compete with some of the best teams in our league. This is certainly one of them.”
So much for that. Auburn continues its ascension up the AP Top 25, and Arkansas' bubble hopes fade. The Razorbacks may need to win the SEC Championship to reach March Madness if they don't start winning soon.