Butler game redux

Was it the offense or defense? It was synergy of both to some point, of course, but the offense was the big outlier. Butler scored 1.14 points per possession against us by my estimation. That was subpar on D, but not catastrophically bad. Butler averaged 1.08 ppp in Big East play. They had games this season against Villanova, Xavier, Marquette, Seton Hall, and Creighton in which they scored more efficiently that they did against us. They scored more efficiently against Purdue today. We figured to have to make buckets to beat them. If a couple of their late-shot-clock, contested treys had rimmed out, we could have lived with the defense. In fact, UF didn’t score any less efficiently against us in the SECT in a glorious victory.

On the other hand, our offensive efficiency was a miserable 0.9 ppp, one of our worst of the season, and we played many teams that were better defensively than Butler. Scoring at that rate is going to make your D look bad unless you are locking down the opponent. What stands out is only 4 treys on 18 attempts (22%), almost our worst arc performance of the season. In fact, 39% from the field on EFg% was our second worst of the season, topped by only the debacle against LSU at home that was one of the biggest outlier offensive performances that I had ever seen by an Arkansas team. The weakness in Butler’s D this season was giving up high FG percentages. In compensation they have rebounded well all season. If you don’t put the ball in the basket against them, you are toast.

It’s hard to explain how a top-20 offense would crash and burn that badly in the biggest game of the year. We seemed to play tight for the majority of the game. On treys Macon was 1 of 6. Like Portis in 2015, after robotic consistency for most of the season he went into a shooting slump in the SECT, and it carried over into the NCAAT. Beard only attempted one trey against Butler, and I can remember one possession where he passed up an uncontested trey that resulted in a TO and transition basket. Jones and Hall, who occasionally give us a big lift from the perimeter, went 1 of 5 from the arc.

We might have survived the poor perimeter game if we had taken advantage of another Butler weakness, their propensity to foul. In the second half Butler got their 6th foul with 11 minutes remaining. Our guards should have lived at the FT line over the final quarter, but that was a team deficiency all year. With the deficit cut to 6 points in the second half and in the bonus our next three possessions were missed jumper, missed jumper, and TO in transition that resulted in a Butler trey to extend the lead back to 9. We never again put game pressure on their shooters.

We didn’t generate enough good looks, make them often enough when we had them, make tough looks, or find a way to compensate.

Good analysis… :smiley:

The more I think about it and watch the NCAAT, the more I think it’s a crap shoot. You simply cannot afford to show up and have an uncharacteristicly bad shooting night.

That’s mostly what it came down to for us. We have glossed over it because of the outcome, but it’s pretty remarkable that we came all the way back from a 21-2 start to take a first half lead.

The game turned when, after taking the lead, we gave them a bunch of offensive rebounds that allowed them to retake the regain momentum from what had to be a drained squad after digging back into it.

That’s what’s so frustrating. The most bankable and consistent part of our team–shooting and tough-shot making–failed us when it mattered most.

And, We had the looks.

Meanwhile, I’ve watched game after game with lesser, younger squads hitting shot after shot all week.

I hurt for the guys line Macon and Barford. They wanted it so badly and just had an off night. Bad deal.

Absolutely spot on summary of the game, btw.

And just like clockwork, another #1 seed bites the dust. Xavier beaten by a 9 seed. Any given night rings true this tournament. I just hope KY gets beat somewhere.


Finally a nice thoughtful thread about what went wrong with the players in this game by a basketball fan. Nice to discuss basketball instead of the sport of “coaching” that football fans relish.

No question in the final analysis, Macon and Barford carried us the entire year. This was offense oriented team. Whenever they scored their combined average, Arkansas won home, away or neutral. When that did not happen, we were suspect to losing.

As you pointed out, in 2015, Portis went into the tank starting with SECT. Macon did the same this year.

One thing about basketball is that there are days when shots don’t collectively fall for a team for a long period of time in a game. That happened to us at the start of the game, we dug out of it and spent too much digging out of it. It happened to North Carolina yesterday after leading 18-13. Nothing, I mean nothing would fall for them for the next 10 minutes. They never did recover.

Well don’t tell that to some posters here. I can always count on these same posters(i will not name them) coming on the board whining and complaining, wanting the coach fired. It doesnt matter if it is football, basketball, baseball etc… I understand frustration, I was frustrated but I also look at the facts. Facts are we shoot bad, we lose big. I will let the big boys decide when we need a new coach, I could care less who the coach is, I just watch the hogs. JMO

One thing I have noticed in recent college basketball is something that some posters complain about regarding the Hogs offense is exactly what most college teams do.

Yes, there are some possesssions where ball is moved around swiftly or fed to the post and Hogs do the same. But a good number of possessions is where there is standing around and guards make the plays by taking the defender off the dribble and scoring or dishing it to a big in the last ten seconds of the possession. And shooting threes in transition is as common as taking deep threes.

I do not see a whole lot of difference between our offense and offenses of hall of fame elite coaches. The difference is that some of these coaches are armed with an elite PG who can make better decisions on instinct than our combo guards pretending sai PGs.

College basketball today is definitely a guard’s game with the bigs getting rebounds and putbacks and setting screens.

I didn’t care who won that game and thought the refs decided it on three bad calls on Macura in the second half. Xavier was in control until he went to the bench with four fouls. It was devastating because Bluett had a bad game. The first two calls on Macura were plays on the ball in which he literally touched nothing but ball. They were fouls that you see all the time against Arkansas, gee-something-bad-happened-to-the-offense-so-there-was-a-foul calls. The last was a 50/50 charge in which Macura slid parallel to the set defender. 90% of the time those are either flops or the defender has to to lean to get contact, which constitutes a block in my book.