Favorite

The Kentucky era 

click to enlarge Kentucky Basketball Coach John Calipari

Cmadler via Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky Basketball Coach John Calipari

Arkansas was probably not well equipped to defeat Kentucky over the weekend, just to be thoroughly blunt. At the outset of Saturday's much-anticipated game, the Wildcats scored on a lob dunk within the first 10 seconds, and then seemingly strangled all possible momentum away from Arkansas anytime it dared attempt creation thereof.

This is Kentucky's epoch, my disillusioned friends. While the rest of the powerhouses that dot the country still have to continually wrestle with one-and-done posturing from mercurial teens, John Calipari wears his Ponzi zealotry without compunction and sells it with aplomb. "Spend two semesters here," I envision him saying in a clandestine, darkened room to wide-eyed power forwards and two-guards, "and the next 15 worrying only about which color Bentley you'll buy." (In said vision, for edification, Calipari is also curiously wearing a trenchcoat lined with knockoff wristwatches and a slightly tarnished wizard hat.)

Give the devil his due, earnestly. This Cat squad is supremely balanced and a paragon of execution in all possible phases, and utilizes bursts of momentum in a fashion that is simply crippling to the opponent. Kentucky started ablaze against the Razorbacks, and then jockeyed with the Hogs for a good 15 minutes before ending the first half on yet another scoring spurt. It's that exacting precision and discipline that makes a 42-26 halftime score feel doubly unmanageable. When the Razorbacks nibbled away at the lead here and there, then tried to assert backcourt traps, it was an endeavor of futility against an obscenely fast stable of players who can all weather that sort of pressure deftly.

All hope wasn't lost, though. Arkansas didn't figure to clang another 10, typically unguarded three-point attempts, nor be so haphazard passing. The first half had been a case study in Murphy's Law, save for a steady free-throw stroke. Four days earlier, having severely punished Texas A&M over 20 minutes, the Hogs watched the Aggies bull ahead with a fiendish attitude despite all apparent impediments at Bud Walton. Lesson learned. Can't quit. Gotta push onward, even when the opponent has that impenetrable veneer.

So, on the plus end, Arkansas still fought like hell and got some of those shots to drop. The Hogs made it a focal point to boost tempo and continue getting tough on the glass despite the physical disparity. When the officiating threatened to prop up Kentucky even further, Mike Anderson's temperature crescendoed nicely and nearly to the point of a forced exit. He earned one technical foul with a nifty entry into the court after Rashad Madden was victimized without a whistle, and seethed so much afterward that a disqualification seemed imminent.

There, in a lost cause of a game, we all witnessed the progressions by which a team has emerged. Michael Qualls restored confidence in his patented corner trey, scampered for loose balls, and bodied up against anyone who felt blue and white garb connoted superiority. Anderson smugly called for a final stoppage with eight seconds remaining and the outcome verging on historical permanence. Bobby Portis posted solid numbers in a game effort to persuade voters that he is, in fact, the conference's Player of the Year front-runner.

What stung the Hogs in the end was an absence of depth. The starters played to 60-all, but Kentucky's reserves posted the decisive 24-7 edge that spelled the 84-67 final margin. The Wildcats did exhibit a sneering disdain for having lost three straight close ones to Arkansas, as many predicted. They handled their business in the selfsame way in which the handful of unbeaten champs have done.

If this is indeed Kentucky's year, so be it. What Anderson hopes and believes is that it also serves as the catalyst for program building, which in all fairness, is what makes more sense at Fayetteville. The Wildcats' lease-to-own model is one that likely could not and would not be sustainable in any other locale.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of...

  • Game on

    August 31, 2017
    This entire opening game preview, I suppose, has a giant asterisk accompanying it. If the havoc that Harvey wrought upon Texas makes its way nor'easterly, then the Arkansas season debut Thursday night in Little Rock may be in jeopardy, and I suspect would not be rescheduled if such a cancellation came to pass. Arkansas may need that presumably easy win for bowl consideration later, but let's presume for the moment the Hogs do get to take on Florida A&M at War Memorial Stadium. /more/
  • Arkansas Razorback 2017 football review, part 3

    August 17, 2017
    Halfway through the Hogs' 2017 football season, which now will undoubtedly be played out in the memory of J. Frank Broyles, Pearls has the team sitting at 4-2, 1-2 after back-to-back road defeats against South Carolina and Alabama. /more/
  • Arkansas Razorback 2017 football review, part 2

    August 10, 2017
    The second leg of the 2017 Arkansas football season is no picnic, metaphorically or otherwise. /more/
  • Five big questions for Arkansas football

    July 20, 2017
    Among them: Can Austin Allen get a better handle on the job and rein in his emotions? /more/
  • 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/
  • Momentum

    February 23, 2017
    Sure, I'd like to think that Pearls About Swine, that modest batch of haphazard prose, had something to do with motivating Arkansas's beleaguered basketball program to rise from a seemingly inestimable late-season swoon to re-emerge in the NCAA Tournament discussion. /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/
  • 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 Recent Comments

  • Re: Fear 'It'self

    • Bill Skarsgrd comes from a family of actors and they were all born and raised…

    • on September 21, 2017
 

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