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Arkansas entered Wednesday night's showdown with Alabama as the winners of seven straight SEC games — four of them by double-digits, one of them over nationally ranked Missouri. It was enough to push the Razorbacks into second place in the league standings. But the Crimson Tide obviously presented a different challenge. This was the same team, after all, that had smacked Arkansas by 31 points just last month.

Would this time go better?

Would it go well?

The answers delivered were overwhelming — Yes and Hell Yes. The result was a convincing 81-66 victory that improved Arkansas to 10-4 in the SEC and prevented, at least for a few days, Alabama from securing its first regular-season league title since 2002.

"I would say this team is playing really good basketball," said Arkansas coach Eric Musselman.

I would say he's right.

The Razorbacks attacked from the jump and took advantage of a rare (but real) homecourt advantage in this pandemic that has limited how many fans can be in arenas from coast to coast. They shot 46.3% from the field against an Alabama team that ranks fourth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. And they outscored the Crimson Tide 27-3 at the free-throw line, which says as much about the different styles of play as it does anything else.

Yes, it's a big discrepancy.

But when one team (Alabama) launches 48% of its field-goal attempts from beyond the arc, where fouls are uncommon, and the other team (Arkansas) mostly attacks, a discrepancy in free-throw attempts is to be expected. Either way, to focus too much on that is to lose sight of the monster Musselman has created. The Razorbacks started the season ranked 54th at KenPom. They're now 16th. And it should be noted that Arkansas is 17-2 on the season with Justin Smith in the lineup, just 1-3 without him — point being that the Hogs are a different team when the Indiana transfer is healthy, and he's been healthy and averaging 36.4 minutes per contest during Arkansas' current five-game winning streak.

Arkansas is up to No. 14 in Thursday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. Alabama dropped to No. 7. The Crimson Tide and Razorbacks remain first and second, respectively, in the SEC standings. Arkansas is two games back in the loss column. Each team has two games left on their regular-season schedules.

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Thursday's Top 25 And 1 rankings

Biggest Movers
2 Arkansas
4 Virginia
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Gonzaga Gonzaga's perfect record includes double-digit victories over Virginia, Iowa and Kansas. The Zags have won their 13 WCC games by an average of 27.5 points. -- 31-1
2 Baylor Baylor's perfect record is highlighted by victories over Texas, Illinois, Texas Tech and Kansas. The Bears have won 15 of their 18 games by double-digits. -- 28-2
3 Michigan Michigan is 10-1 in the first two quadrants with double-digit wins over Wisconsin and Purdue. The Wolverines' lone loss came at Minnesota. -- 23-5
4 Ohio St. Ohio State dropped to 12-5 in the first two quadrants after Sunday's loss to Michigan. The Buckeyes lead the nation with nine Quadrant 1 wins. -- 21-10
5 Illinois Illinois dropped to 11-6 in the first two quadrants after Tuesday's loss at Michigan State. Five of the Illini's six losses are Quadrant 1 defeats. 1 24-7
6 West Virginia West Virginia is 11-6 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Mountaineers are 5-1 in their past six games with wins over Texas, Kansas and Texas Tech. 1 19-10
7 Alabama Alabama dropped to 12-5 in the first two quadrants after Wednesday's loss at Arkansas. The Crimson Tide has one additional loss in Quadrant 3. 2 26-7
8 Villanova Villanova is 6-3 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Wildcats are 4-1 in their past five games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Creighton. -- 18-7
9 Florida St. Florida State is 8-2 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Seminoles are 9-1 in their past 10 games with victories over Virginia and Louisville. -- 18-7
10 Iowa Iowa is 11-6 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Hawkeyes will take a four-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Michigan. -- 22-9
11 Texas Texas is 7-6 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. All six of the Longhorns' losses are Quadrant 1 defeats. -- 19-8
12 Houston Houston is 6-2 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Cougars are 3-1 in their past four games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Wichita State. -- 28-4
13 USC USC is 7-4 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Trojans are 8-1 in their past nine games with wins over UCLA and Oregon. -- 25-8
14 Arkansas Arkansas is 8-5 in the first two quadrants with only one loss outside of Quadrant 1. The Razorbacks are 8-1 in their past nine games with wins over Alabama and Missouri. 2 25-7
15 Creighton Creighton is 10-2 in the first two quadrants with three additional losses falling in Quadrant 3. The Bluejays are 7-1 in their past eight games with wins over Villanova and Seton Hall. -- 22-9
16 Wisconsin Wisconsin is 9-8 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Badgers' resume is highlighted by victories over Loyola Chicago, Rutgers and Maryland. 1 18-13
17 Loyola Chi. Loyola Chicago is 5-4 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Ramblers are 12-1 in their past 13 games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Drake. 1 26-5
18 Virginia Virginia dropped to 8-4 in the first two quadrants after Wednesday's loss to NC State. The Cavaliers have two additional losses in Quadrant 3. 4 18-7
19 Kansas Kansas dropped to 8-8 in the first two quadrants after Tuesday's loss at Texas. All eight of the Jayhawks' losses are Quadrant 1 defeats. -- 21-9
20 Oklahoma Oklahoma suffered its first Quadrant 3 loss of the season Tuesday at Kansas State. The Sooners are 3-2 in their past five games with two of those wins coming against Iowa State. -- 16-11
21 Va. Tech Virginia Tech dropped to 6-5 in the first two quadrants after Tuesday's loss at Georgia Tech. The Hokies are 1-2 in their past three games with the lone win in that stretch coming at Miami. -- 15-7
22 Tennessee Tennessee is 6-6 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Vols are 6-3 in their past nine games with wins over Kansas and Kentucky. -- 18-9
23 Purdue Purdue is 10-7 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Boilermakers will take a two-game winning streak into Friday's game at Penn State. -- 18-10
24 Okla. St. Oklahoma State is 7-5 in the first two quadrants with one additional loss falling in Quadrant 3. The Cowboys will take a three-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Oklahoma. -- 21-9
25 BYU BYU is 7-5 in the first two quadrants with zero additional losses. The Cougars' resume is highlighted by victories over San Diego State and Utah State. -- 20-7
26 Missouri Missouri dropped to 8-7 in the first two quadrants after Tuesday's loss to Ole Miss. The Tigers are 1-4 in their past five games with three losses in that stretch to unranked teams. -- 16-10