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

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Mike Anderson, Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball

  • Hawgball prospects

    March 30, 2017
    The sting of the "Grifters in Greenville" incident having finally dissipated somewhat, I am prepared to assess Razorback basketball anew. /more/
  • 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/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Beau Wilcox

  • SEC hope?

    There's precedent for the Hogs rebounding from a September misstep or two.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Bumbling Bielema

    The numbing sense of complete disillusionment in the wake of a listless 28-7 loss to Texas Christian University on Saturday in the Arkansas Razorbacks' "true" home opener gives way to disgust when you see these statistical markers of failure.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • On to TCU

    This opener was never endangered by weather, never in doubt on the scoreboard, and never remotely interesting. But it happened, Arkansas is 1-0 (unlike Baylor, UNLV and — chortle — Texas A&M), and the Hogs lost very little against hapless Florida A&M in a 49-7 walloping that may have been a sendoff to War Memorial Stadium.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Pearls About Swine

  • SEC hope?

    There's precedent for the Hogs rebounding from a September misstep or two.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Bumbling Bielema

    The numbing sense of complete disillusionment in the wake of a listless 28-7 loss to Texas Christian University on Saturday in the Arkansas Razorbacks' "true" home opener gives way to disgust when you see these statistical markers of failure.
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • On to TCU

    This opener was never endangered by weather, never in doubt on the scoreboard, and never remotely interesting. But it happened, Arkansas is 1-0 (unlike Baylor, UNLV and — chortle — Texas A&M), and the Hogs lost very little against hapless Florida A&M in a 49-7 walloping that may have been a sendoff to War Memorial Stadium.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

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

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Bumbling Bielema

    • The person named Allen with the canning co just filed bankruptcy, if any one is…

    • on September 19, 2017
  • Re: Bumbling Bielema

    • And yet Bielema is paid millions of dollars. I'm no fancy football expert, but it…

    • on September 18, 2017
  • Re: Bumbling Bielema

    • Coaches are out there to snag up at the end of the season, the kind…

    • on September 18, 2017
 

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