BBall 2021-2022 Review: Toughness

As I turn the page on the season, one word comes to mind about this team - toughness. Even last night, when it was clear that we were over-matched, we didn’t quit.

We could’ve quit after starting 0-3 in conference. Many of us - if you remember and/or are honest with yourselves did quit - but Muss and the team didn’t. Trey Wade didn’t quit when he wasn’t playing early. Devo didn’t quit when he went back to the 6th man role. Lykes didn’t quit when it was clear he wasn’t going to do what we all thought he would do here. Kamani didn’t quit after he recorded several DNP’s. Muss didn’t quit after several games of really bad defense and low BBall IQ early in the season.

Y’all know the story from there, and while it wasn’t always pretty, it was effective. We kept stacking wins and became one of the best defensive teams in the nation. This team always had the talent, but oddly, the mixture of the players never really revealed what a few of our players were fully, consistently capable of. Instead, they settled into different roles and we became 1 of 2 teams in the nation to return to the Elite 8.

That is worth noting again. 1 of 2 teams in the nation to make consecutive Elite 8’s! Folks we shouldn’t take that for granted. I’m a huge competitor, to the point that I’ve had to really adjust in the professional world. I want a national championship. No doubt about it. But, I’m too much of a college basketball nerd to not be extremely thankful for a season like the one we just had…again, especially after an Elite 8 appearance the year before. What we just did is really, really hard to do. And, like many of you who grew up with Nolan’s teams, I love 80-90 points scored with a fast pace. But, bottom line, I don’t care how we get there. Just win. That’s what Muss has done.

Although it’s fun to do, I’m not going to speculate too much on next season until I see the roster settle more. We won’t have to wait long. It should happen in the next 4-5 weeks.

But, I think we should all feel extremely confident that we can have another great season, a NCAA tournament berth with a chance to make noise. We need to maintain our defense. Defense travels. We’re not talking about that enough. And, that probably means the roster and the rotation will look a little different than most of us think. Still, we should have a higher ceiling going forward due to recruiting better talent. Let’s get something straight though - it takes a few years of top 5 classes to build a roster like Duke’s. And, we may not ever get a Paolo Banchero. We don’t have to look like them to win, though. Stay the course and keep trusting Muss. Two Elite 8’s does wonders for recruiting! Portal season and 2023 recruiting should be extremely fun.

It feels like we’re back! Another elite season. Let’s add some pieces the next few weeks, lock down Muss, and do it again next year!

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Thanks Ag. Always appreciate your posts. Wish you would post more often during the season!

Agree with everything you said. The key is Muss. What he has done in such a short time is almost unfathomable. We have to keep him happy, help him on the NIL front, etc. If we do, we have great things in store.

Go Hogs.

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Well said razor. Muss definately knows how to tweak a lineup. But still get the most out of his players when switching roles. This team has absolutely nothing to hang their heads about.

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Really happy to see your post, @razorag . I’ve great respect for your knowledge and love your point of view on things.

Things are looking up. For the first time since Nolan was pacing the sidelines, I have true hope for the upcoming season.

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At the beginning of the year if you had told me we would get to the Elite Eight again, I would have thought that would be a great season. It was a great season, and yes mental toughness-starting with Muss, is the reason it was a great season.

Next year’s team is almost surely going to look very, very different. Younger, more talented, and probably as a group better shooters/scorers. As physically tough? That probably depends on who the older guys are and what they do. There will be a lot of coming and going for older players.

I feel great about Muss shaping whatever the fall roster looks like into a dangerous team by March. It will be fun to watch again.

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Outstanding post. I agree with every point you’ve made. Especially the line “Just win”. I loved winning the “Nolan way”. I also enjoyed winning the “Eddie way”. Now I love winning the “Muss way.”

No way any coach will surpass Nolan for me, but Muss has a chance to stand with Nolan on my podium. Nolan did it first. No other coach will ever be able to say that.

One further point on Muss. I believe he will be capable of winning big in multiple ways, depending on his players’ talents. Defense will always be in the forefront with him, but without a doubt, he also loves great offense. I won’t be surprised, if in the future, he produces great offensive teams, as well as great defensive teams.

Exciting time to be a Razorback basketball fanatic.

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