Doubt creeps into Arkansas’ NCAA tournament hopes after losing to Vanderbilt

On Friday’s episode of Eye on Faculty Basketball I identified that although ArkansasPopularity, in the event you actually dig into the truth that the Razorbacks are ranked fifteenth, It was conceivable that they might find yourself fiddling about lacking the NCAA Event.

I put Arkansas’ potential for a foul play at 15% – however that was earlier than the Hogs had been stamped 97-84 in Vanderbilt on Saturday.

proper Now? I am going to double the possibilities of letting the Razorbacks out of the large jig.

The Commodores’ Jerry Stackhouse is credited for placing up one of the vital spectacular second halves of the season: 69.2% capturing, together with 66.7% from 3-point vary and 63 factors within the second half to Arkansas’ 42-turned eight-point deficit on the midway level. The sport in a 13-point win. Vandy averaged 1.4 factors per possession, finest exhibiting towards the (previously Courageous) Arkansas protection this season. Vanderbilt’s firing of the Hogs was spectacular statistically, dropping Eric Musselman’s staff from 14th to twenty second in general defensive effectivity within the season.

I nonetheless assume it is a reduction for Arkansas to see its identify seem on CBS on that specific Sunday when the large class is revealed, however this program is in hassle and must discover a solution to security quickly. After an 11-1 begin, Arkansas has misplaced 4 of its final 5 video games and is 4-1 within the SEC, trailing solely Mississippi within the league ledger.

Nobody thought this was attainable three weeks in the past, not to mention within the pre-season.

There may be a lot to fret about. First, as a result of the offense is hampered by accidents, Arkansas has to win with its protection’s energy and talent. If that holds up, then this staff is 100% toast. I do not count on extra groups to drop higher than 1.2 factors per possession on the Hogs as they transfer ahead, so there’s a minimum of that.

And what about that crime? like Musselman advised me not too long agoThe employees constructed the O round two non-playing gamers: Nick Smith Jr. and Trayvon Brazile. The latter is made for the season with a torn ACL. The previous is engaged on a knee damage, with the hope that he’ll be capable to return by February. Doubts reign as as to if a High 10 NBA Draft choice will play once more for the Hogs. I feel he’ll. I additionally assume he wants that to make sure an NCAA Event bid for Arkansas. Since December twenty seventh In keeping with BartTorvik.comArkansas has performed like the highest 120 staff within the sport.

The issue is, Arkansas cannot shoot from the depths. She ranks 336th nationally in 3-point accuracy (29.1%) and does not take that many three-pointers—solely 27.6% of her shot makes an attempt come from exterior the arc. Having ranged threats is sort of necessary being an final fourth caliber staff as of late. Arkansas? Nobody within the rotation shoots higher than infantryman Anthony Black’s 32%.

Traditionally, dangerous 3-point capturing groups by no means actually corrected course into good 3-point capturing groups greater than midway by way of the season. There’s a ceiling right here, regardless.

Subsequent for the pigs is tilt at 13-4 Missouri Wednesday towards a Tigers staff that may very well be as flawed and struggling as Arkansas after shedding three of the previous 4, together with to fl on Saturday. No. 20 (Unranked Quickly) Mizzou will profit from a hometown get-up earlier than taking over the Razorbacks on Wednesday. Arkansas might want to show it will possibly do one thing it has but to do: win on the highway.

At 12-5, the Razorbacks have gained solely twice on high quality: San Diego State And Oklahoma in neutral courts. highway video games vs BaylorAnd KentuckyNo. 4 Alabama And quantity 5 Tennessee They’re nonetheless ready. Can this staff win even two of these video games with out Smith on the ground? I doubt it.

The silver lining for Arkansas followers, they usually comprehend it, is how Musselman weathered the midseason whirlwind of the previous two seasons and mustered these campaigns to the Elite Eight, the college’s first for the reason that mid-Nineties. In 2020-21, the Arkansas staff was 13-5 on the finish of January and is predicted to be close to the bubble. He misplaced one recreation between then and the NCAA Event. Final season, Arkansas performed a poor non-conference schedule, flipping sideways early in league play and discovering itself 10-5 with an 0-3 SEC document in early January.

The Razorbacks gained 13 of their subsequent 14 groups and earned a No. 4 seed on their solution to a regional ultimate.

Musselman is without doubt one of the finest coaches in faculty basketball – which is why his identify was put ahead for the emptiness Texas Job, one other subplot to the present unease with Arkansas’ scenario – so I would not be shocked if this staff finds a solution to proper itself. However up thus far, there is not a lot proof to counsel that will probably be.

The Razorbacks had been thought-about a contender within the SEC simply two weeks in the past. This hypothesis is over. Arkansas isn’t going to win this convention. As an alternative, circumstances now dictate that we’ve got to attend and see for this staff. Can Arkansas redeem itself and do the naked minimal that has been anticipated over the previous 9 months in Fayetteville? Particularly, merely: Make your third straight NCAA Event beneath similar Coach for the primary time in over 20 years – since Nolan Richardson.

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