Until Joe Returns Arkansas May Continue To Struggle

Razorback Basketball

Unlike the person who sent Razorback head men’s basketball coach, Eric Musselman, I will not sit here and tell you guys that he is going about this season the completely wrong way because he is not. What’s wrong with this team right now? It’s a lack of spacing the court. When Jimmy Whitt, Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones were at their best early on this season, the court was spread and Arkansas could attack the basket. Joe allowed Mase and Whitt the ability to dribble, drive and lay it in with ease due to the respect teams had for Joe that drew much attention no matter where he was on the perimeter.

Without Joe, teams can afford to put an extra man down low playing more of a 2-1-2 causing Jones (slasher) and Whitt (mid-range) to have tougher shots due to the lane being clogged. It’s very simple because all a team has to do now is concentrate on the other two guys who love their inside game. 

Another point to consider which has been beset like a dead horse is the lack of size which I brought up during the pregame on our message board. Tennessee had no player shorter than 6’3 which in return causes Arkansas’ guards to adjust their shots around the perimeter with a much higher arc than usual. The length Tennessee displayed disrupted passing lanes helping them take lead outs for 2 on 1 and sometimes 3 on 1 fast breaks. 

Until Joe returns I believe every team will be able to play this kind of defense since there is no other 3 point shooter to respect. Jalen isn’t gonna help and neither is Desi. 

Like Porter Hayes mentioned in the podcast on Monday, “when a team is tired they start playing defense with your hands rather than your feet a team is prone to foul more.” That’s what is going on right now with Arkansas. Their inside guys are TIRED because outside of Reggie and Adrio there is absolutely NO depth this team can account for. Henderson? No. Bell? No. Those two aren’t good enough, big enough or shoot well enough to make an impact on the game although they do have outstanding athleticism. Outside of Mase, Whitt and Desi all this team has is Jalen behind them but the three listed above are playing 35-40 minutes every single night and it wears on you. 

This team hasn’t fallen because they aren’t good enough because we’ve seen them beat Indiana on the road, play LSU, Miss State and Western Kentucky on the road and lose by 7 or less. Give them two more quality players…maybe a guard and a post player and they would be a much better team…wait, they are on the team this season but are having to sit out because their waivers were denied… Connor Vanover and JD Notae.

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