There have been many firsts this year after a long time, but has this ever happened before?
This was Arkansas’s 11th win this season, coming back from down double digits, including in all three games in the tournament and twice against ORU.
And one other amazing stat is that Arkansas has lost the second half just once (vs LSU at SECT) since getting rolled by Bama.
I’ve wondered about that “ability” to win-the-second-half and if it causes the team to play lackadaisically or without greater intensity in the first half. Or, if the better analysis is that the team just out-smarts the other guy in the second 20 minutes; and survives?
Better be serious and smart the first half against Baylor.
I’m pretty sure I could find some Razorback teams that never came back from double digits.
I have a high school classmate who lived in Indy for years and now in Florida. I mention Indy because after all those years in Indiana, she knows her hoops. She latched on to ORU early in the tournament as the underdog, then when they got to us she was conflicted. When they jumped out on us she texted me “See?” I replied “we don’t start playing until we’re down double digits.” After the game she texted back "You were right! "
I heard an interview with Musselman on the radio the other day, and they asked him about this. His answer made a lot of sense. He essentially said that his father taught him that there are usually 3 runs in every game, and how you manage those runs often makes the difference in the wins and losses. For him, the timing of the runs is somewhat unknown; you just need to be prepared for them when they happen.
Obviously, he doesn’t want to be down double digits, but when you think of it that way, it makes sense that the team is able to weather those and come back because you’re expecting the run to happen. You just need to adjust. It’s likely why our players tend to keep their poise. They always believe that if they play hard defense they will manage and mitigate the runs of the other team.
It was pretty interesting.
That trait this season actually reminds of our 93/94 team. If you remember, in the final four, we were down by 10 points in the 2nd half to both AZ, and of course, also to Duke. That great team stormed back in both to win those games. After being down 10 to AZ, we proceeded to outscore them by 19 to win by 9.
The 93/94 team and this team are very different in make-up and style, but are very similar in the great comeback runs they’ve made in tournaments. Hopefully, that similarity will continue for 3 more games. Not sure my heart will survive 3 more 10 point 2nd half deficits though.
I think this trend speaks to three things.
One is simply that its a trend. And the kids know that. We have been shooting the ball poorly at the start of games. Is that being tight? Maybe caused by the knowledge we have ben starting slow? I suspect yes. Trying too hard to not get off to a bad start leads to…bad starts. I played basketball back in my day. I still play alot of golf. Shooting is like putting. “Trying too hard” is an actual thing. Leads to tension. Robs you of accuracy.
The other thing is that while we aren’t necessarily more talented than our opponents, we have Eric over there making in game adjustments. He has proven to be REALLY good at them…“better than most” (shout out to Gary Koch)…which creates an advantage for us as the game progresses. You think all coaches are equal when it comes to making in game adjustments? Just go back and watch Loyola v. Illinois.
Lastly–and this is a reflection of Eric…and party a reflection of Mike, who recruited Desi and I am sure had been recruiting Moses… is this team has CHARACTER. They have grit. To just KEEP coming back game after game shows there is something inside that some teams, some people just don’t have.
You see it in all walks of life. My wife has it…as I look at how she has adjusted to her life-changing surgery. Its not a small thing at all to just be able to literally NEVER GIVE UP. Some people give lip service to that…but somewhere inside they do actually reach a breaking point and give up.
Nolan built his entire philosophy around that. This team never gives up.
That said, we need to avoid falling way behind Baylor. That might be the mountain too high to scale.
I don’t know if you are talking about the entire season or just NCAAs. I think we are more talented than the three teams we have played so far in the NCAAs. Over the season, I believe three teams we came back on, did have more talent, that is Bama, LSU and Florida.
That is my point. Some of our comebacks are against teams that we are not more talented than…especially the SEC teams you mention.
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