Favorite

Another disaster 

I swear, y'all, I am trying like hell to come up with a new angle on this tragicomic mess called Arkansas basketball. But every week presents the same dichotomy, and the past few days just qualifies as flat-out bewildering.

Against Alabama at Bud Walton Arena on a rare Wednesday night showdown, the Hogs were a buzzsaw of beauty. Authoritative dunks. Crisp passing and rotation. Solid on-ball defense. Best of all, Dusty Hannahs recaptured his mysteriously lost shooting stroke, swishing five second-half threes to whip the crowd into a frenzy en route to a 19-point win over an ostensibly decent foe.

Fast-forward 72 hours, and this allegedly same team is walking off Norm Stewart Court at Columbia on the wrong end of an 83-78 decision. How bad is it? Missouri entered the game with a 13-game losing streak, an 0-9 SEC mark, and the unarguable distinction of being the worst power conference team in the country. And the Tigers didn't just win the game, they did it in the exact fashion that any team employs to beat Arkansas, which Mike Anderson and his courtside jesters still can't resolve.

Mizzou came out motivated and the Hogs looked disinterested, criminally so. Moses Kingsley's preseason SEC Player of the Year honors now resemble a cruel joke. What publication fancied the 6-foot-10 Kingsley such a formidable threat, The Onion? He's been a nonentity for much of the season, and you would swear from his body language that he's OK with that. Worse yet, he's not even terribly effective guarding the rim at this point, as a couple of late Tiger baskets evidenced. The help-side defense that he could have provided came lethargically and late, and that's why Missouri got to throw off the albatross of futility for a night.

Offensively, Arkansas is disjointed and ever victimized by Mike Anderson's lineup changes, which seem to have no rhyme, reason or rhythm. When the team catches a bit of a groove and is effective in transition, there will inevitably be a change in on-court personnel. Again, Missouri may be terrible, but no team can simply be taken for granted the way Arkansas has done the past couple of Saturdays. The Hogs just jack around for most of the 40 minutes they're afforded by rule, and it's clear that nobody in a jersey is in sync with anybody in a suit.

Alabama always has a long and athletic team that frustrates the Hogs. So go figure, the midweek game looked like a surprise springboard to the postseason. You saw the absolute best of the so-called Fastest 40 that night, thanks in large part to people like Manuale Watkins and Jaylen Barford giving the team energy and zip. The team seemed totally hellbent on making the free world forget the no-show in Stillwater, Okla., and it was appreciably better than any brand of basketball that had been played in the big gym on Leroy Pond Drive all year.

So why does it fizzle out so quickly, and so pitifully against universally derided teams like Mizzou? It's not that hard to diagnose, really. The disconnect between the generals and their charges is palpable. Kingsley actually got some much-deserved bench time after a silly, if borderline, technical foul went against him early. That's fine, but as the game wore on, it became apparent that he was going to sulk once he got back in the action, too. Here is a senior, playing for professional dollars, and looking like he would rather be killing time at an arcade or something.

And let's not put all the burden on the big guy. The erratic Anton Beard has returned, and Hannahs was awful again from three. He and Daryl Macon get precious little court time together, which is inexcusable given how dangerous both of them can be from the perimeter. Maybe the Razorbacks are not that good, but they can at least fake it with the people they have on the roster. Losing to Missouri means the Hogs have literally lost the will to even pretend to care.

That's bad. It's NIT-level bad now. And, actually, it may be worse than that, because when a team pisses away games it can ill afford to lose, it probably wants the season to end already. For that reason, Anderson's hot seat is really cranked up. He doesn't have the irascible demeanor necessary to yank some effort out of these guys at this point, and it would shock nobody if that 20-win mark that seemed so preordained merely a week ago never gets reached.

Favorite

Speaking of Mike Anderson, Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball

  • Tourney time

    March 16, 2017
    Selection Sunday hasn't been a meaningful day very often in recent years for Arkansas. Over the span of a decade, the Hogs knew they were safely within the expanded 68-team field only three times. /more/
  • Hogs going dancing

    March 9, 2017
    Even in a week where a modest winning streak went by the wayside at Gainesville, Arkansas authored one more earnest surge toward an NCAA Tournament berth that not long ago seemed beyond its grasp. /more/
  • Razorbacks rolling

    March 2, 2017
    Tread cautiously, Hog fans — this kind of success as we head toward March, in two sports, feels a little ominous, doesn't it? /more/
  • Not worthy

    February 16, 2017
    There's something to be said for an Arkansas basketball team that spends two-and-a-half games looking like quitters before rising off the mat. /more/
  • Skeptical about Anderson

    February 2, 2017
    Consider yourselves lucky, Hog fans. Most teams that manage to play about five quality minutes out of 80 in a two-game week don't end up fortunate enough to forge a split like Arkansas did in its latest two road games. /more/
  • Critical stretch

    January 19, 2017
    The minute you take a shine to an Arkansas Razorback team is almost assuredly the same minute you have your sanity tested. /more/
  • Solidly second tier

    January 12, 2017
    It only makes sense that in this numbing era of Razorback slip-and-falls, the Hogs could really put vaunted Kentucky to the test at Rupp Arena for a good 30 minutes of action ... and end up losing by 26 points. /more/
  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    December 8, 2016
    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte. /more/
  • What coaches do lives after them

    March 28, 2016
    News that UALR was going to lose its first-year basketball coaching phenom Chris Beard to UNLV got me thinking about the potential ups and downs of coaching changes. /more/
  • Basketball Hogs in review

    March 17, 2016
    They were every bit of 16-16, 9-9. Average. /more/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Beau Wilcox

  • Foul play

    This beautiful little ride couldn't have just ended conventionally. That's not the Razorback way.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Tourney time

    Selection Sunday hasn't been a meaningful day very often in recent years for Arkansas. Over the span of a decade, the Hogs knew they were safely within the expanded 68-team field only three times.
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Hogs going dancing

    Even in a week where a modest winning streak went by the wayside at Gainesville, Arkansas authored one more earnest surge toward an NCAA Tournament berth that not long ago seemed beyond its grasp.
    • Mar 9, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

Latest in Pearls About Swine

  • Foul play

    This beautiful little ride couldn't have just ended conventionally. That's not the Razorback way.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Tourney time

    Selection Sunday hasn't been a meaningful day very often in recent years for Arkansas. Over the span of a decade, the Hogs knew they were safely within the expanded 68-team field only three times.
    • Mar 16, 2017
  • Hogs going dancing

    Even in a week where a modest winning streak went by the wayside at Gainesville, Arkansas authored one more earnest surge toward an NCAA Tournament berth that not long ago seemed beyond its grasp.
    • Mar 9, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation