So, wanted to start a civil thread here for a good discussion on Florida game, key word being civil. We knew it would be tough one, Florida plays a similar style and they are bigger than us.
With that said, my thoughts…
First, not sure why CMA went back with Hannahs starting when he was playing better coming off the bench. He really struggles shooting when he starts, not sure if it’s a mindset or what’s going on with that. Next, It’s time to start Cook. Thomas just can’t do much against teams that are bigger than us. He just doesn’t get much lift when he jumps, and he really struggles to move his feet and keep up with players that are more athletic than him, which causes the silly fouls. Cook just looks a lot more comfortable against better athletes at this point and finds ways to be effective. The starters IMO, should be Beard, Barford, Macon, Cook, and Kingsley.
Also, it’s become clear last few games Macon is the best player on the team. Even in this loss he was very impressive, plays hard all the time and on both ends. He’s going to win take over and win us some games this year. Also, the guy calling the game said it best, Kingsley is not really an offensive weapon. His back to the basket game is not good at all. He forces a lot of bad shots trying to be the guy. He’s gotta realize he’s a defense/energy guy first and he’ll get most of his buckets in transition and put backs. We wasted several possessions watching him lose the ball or take a bad shot.
It’s clear Dusty is in his own head. I have no doubt it was an attempt to get him going. It didn’t work.
I agree that Macon needs to play 30 mins a game. He doesn’t shrink.
I would play Cook a lot more. Thomas is weak and is in the same mold of the long line of similar 4s we have had forever, now (Gomez, Hunter, Sanchez, Pharis, Waithe, Keaton Miles, etc).
He’s OK vs weaker opponents and is tentative on offense and a foul a minute on defense.
Cook at least seems to want to mix it up.
I still think we have a solid team and will win a lot of games and I’m willing to say it after a bad loss. I’ll do it again when we start 1-2 or 0-3 bc I realize we have the toughest opening few weeks in the league.
At the end when we have 23-25 wins and those same people minimize it I will point out that it was a good season.
I can’t really offer effective counterpoint to any of the analytics you fine gentlemen have opined. One item not mentioned by you chaps however, is that once again an opponent has successfully executed a high percentage of shots beyond the arc that awards three points. Was this due to extraordinary proficiency on the part of our opponents or a deficiency in defending the outer perimeter by our young men? At the risk of sounding provincial, I still find it unacceptable that the young man from Northern Little Rock is performing his heroics for that ghastly institution of reptiles instead of our own beloved university.
I’m with you on that. I actually really like our chances Tuesday. We match up really well against Tennessee, they are smaller and don’t have many good ball handlers, we will cause them a lot of problems. I knew when looking at this schedule we’d most likely start 1-2 or 0-3. SEC never does us any favors in scheduling, giving us the 2 best teams in the conference in our first 3 games. After the Kentucky game I think we’ll win 4 of our next 5. We’ll win the 3 home games then win one of 2 against either TAM or Vandy.
As far as rest of the games, just looking at schedule I think we’ll get 10-11 wins. And probably win 1 or 2 in the SEC tournament. That will have us around 22-24 wins. Which I think is enough to get us in tournament this year. Just gotta make sure to avoid the bad losses (Mizzou and Mississippi State) everyone else has a decent RPI.
Hannahs is easier for opponents to target when he starts. Bring him in at the right time, opponent has tired defenders or backups, and cannot spring a plan as easily. Thought MA already had this pegged.
We are what we are. An OK team. Our record is a little better than I thought it would be at this time (I didn’t think we would beat Texas or Houston, but, Texas isn’t very good for sure, and Houston, decent record, not a good team, in my opinion) but we are about as good as i thought we would be. Which is, just OK. We aren’t a Missouri, but, not that good either. Florida isn’t a world beater, can’t even make it a close game at home. (No it wasn’t a blow out, but its not like we lost it in the last minute or 2 either).
I am not impressed. But then, I haven’t been impressed with a Hog basketball team in a long, long, long time.
Hannah’s is alright against tired or second string competition. Don’t start him. He can’t get off his own shot and doesn’t keep the offense moving.
Cook has been alright. Thompson I think has been better tho. Thompson is better rebounder. And he is a better passer, but both Cook and Thompson are good passers.
I would really consider starting those two if Moses’s offense remains catatonic.
Posted this on another board and I think it fits here.
First, I maintain that this team has enough talent to be what it should be - a NCAAT team. The question still remains - can CMA get them there? I’m still not sure.
Chemistry remains an issue. It’s been masked for several games, but when you go against good, complete teams like last night, more fans can recognize it. I’ve purposely sat back quietly the back half of the OOC schedule. While we’ve played well enough to win against a decent, good-enough schedule, I’ve remained concerned about our team gelling. I don’t see enough proper spacing, talking, reading, movement, etc. All of those things are due to the new pieces on this team. CMA has to assign and demand roles and hold our players to them.
If CMA doesn’t coach defending the pick-and-roll (PNR) differently, we will struggle all year. This issue showed up the first game of the year with Fort Wayne. Why? You had a high major level PG, and bigs and wings that were good enough to put a lot of pressure on us. We switched too much and it almost beat us. The next few games, we saw improvement - guards fighting over the screens more, bigs hedging better, not switching every time, covering the roller better, better help defense. Still though, I saw inconsistency in how we defended it throughout the OOC schedule. As I’ve stated before, I sit right next to the bench. Sometimes CMA barks what to do on ball screens; sometimes he doesn’t. We have to become more consistent and disciplined on this. If the opponent runs a spread PNR offense and has good PG, I think we have to do the most fundamental thing - hedge hard, retreat hard. The retreating part is what we haven’t done much of since CMA has been here. Yes, it doesn’t necessarily fit his style of aggressive defense, but if it’s not working, IT’S NOT WORKING - ADJUST. That doesn’t compromise our style.
I’ve seen fans talk about needing more ball movement in the offense. Yes, agree. However, I think we need to talk one step further. At times, we’ve moved the ball well, but more than it should be, it’s value-less movement. We need to be spaced properly. We need to screen more and better. We need to run off the screens better (looking at you, Dusty). Against good defensive teams like Florida, you have to move purposefully and create space, b/c they close VERY quickly. Again, I think this is mostly on CMA. He has guards that are Alpha guys. You can just seem them itching to drive and create one-on-one. The issue is that we’re not spaced properly and our timing is off. We are one of the worst PNR offensive teams I’ve seen this year. Our ballhandlers don’t work off the screen properly, our screeners don’t move after the screen properly and the other players aren’t spaced properly for the penetration and roll to be effective. Instead, we have players having to work harder to score. This topic goes back to role-clarity and discipline. CMA has to demand it.
We need more high post touches on offense. Since CMA has been here, we’ve been pretty good at getting our bigs to the foul line and either getting the ball to the other side or passing to the other big on a pin.
CJ Jones needs to come on defensively. A lot of fans have clamored for more CJ. But, if you watch closely, he’s broken down defensively constantly. We need him. So, CJ, be more aware and hold up. You don’t have to be good defensively; you just can’t suck defensively…and you’ve sucked defensively so far.
If we can’t press more effectively, I think we need to see more Trey and Mo together. I love the ability to press more with DT and Arlando. I prefer Trey backing up Mo and DT and Arlando being interchangeable. But, if we find that our press isn’t as effective as we want it to be, I think we should give Trey minutes with Mo to help with the offense. Trey has the highest offensive IQ on the team.
We need attitude changes. We need more players to follow Macon’s lead here. Mo is our biggest problem here, which leads me to my next thought.
There have been some healthy debates on Mo and needing more from him. I don’t necessarily think we need ‘more’; we need ‘better’. More efficiency. Less forces. More crashing the offensive glass. More hustle. More positivity. Better reads offensively. He needs to be the leader of the solution, not part of the problem.
Ok, long enough. 0-3 is possible. It’s also not the end of the world. I do think we match up with Tennessee well. Would be nice to steal one. I think we’ll get blown out by Kentucky.
We have the talent - better chemistry, discipline and Mo playing better are the main needs.
Regarding C.J. Jones: Kevaughn Allen got all of the headlines for his offense (going 5-9 from three, although just 2-7 from two). But he played 34 minutes and had only two rebounds, one steal and zero assists. Basically, he was really good on offense but didn’t contribute much else. If C.J. Jones could play defense well enough to get on the court, I think he could do something similar (adjusted to account for fewer minutes).
This reminded me of your posts through January of 2014-15 season regarding similar doubts about CMA’s coaching. Later CMA fixed the issues and that team won 27 games and made it to the 2nd round of NCAAT. I hope history repeats itself.
I didn’t see an Arkansas team capable of winning 10 conference games. After beginning with an underwhelming 0-3 start in the SEC, it will become clear Anderson stacked the preconference cupcakes to try to get 20-22 wins. This team goes 8-10 or 9-9 in the slightly improved SEC. Unless the Hogs win at Kentucky or at Florida and at South Carolina in that string, they are NIT bound again. Don’t even see them winning all the remaining home games in BWA. Too much stand around in this team, and they don’t trap defensively well enough to make a difference in the SEC. Dusty will get rusty waiting for the ball and trying to create his own spacing for a shot. Moses is a far cry from POY. Macon is the only one out there worthy of seeing the bacon. Another ho-hum season watching marginal talent’s sloppy play under CMA.
Very good points and I will add a few thoughts here. I too, hate it when we just switch every pick and roll screen. Our bigs always get caught on a guard and that is not good. Just like you said, hedge hard and then recover. On pressing, you are not going to effectively press a good team. More times than not they are going to beat your press and create 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 situations. You can press bad teams all night long. Our spacing is bad on offense and has been all season. Manny for all the good that he does hurts our spacing. I had so hoped that he would at least take some outside shots, but it’s not going to happen. On offense Hannahs dribbles too much and doesn’t go anywhere. When one player just pounds the ball all the other players stand around and wait for him to do something. Florida’s guards penetrated and if they couldn’t get to the rim, they kicked it out to an open player for a 3. Our guards try to penetrate and most of the time throw up some kind of shot, but do not make use of the kick out pass near enough. With all of this being said, I thought Florida was the better team before we ever played the game, as I had watched them several times of TV and after seeing them that opinion has not changed. Hopefully, we will make improvements.
I think he will as well. Think that starts with Beard and Cook in the starting lineup next game. Not sure if he’ll do both at the same time, but I’m almost positive at least one of those guys will be starting next game.
CMA is in a bind on O with Barford not shooting or handling very well so far. Who replaces Hannahs? If he continues to start Watkins, he needs two other perimeter scorers on the court, or we are prone to slow starts on O. Beard is good enough to fill that role, but then there is no reliable ballhandler left for the first run of the second unit with Beard and Watkins starting. If he starts Barford over Hannahs, a big defensive upgrade, he needs to replace Watkins with Beard. That might work. The radical solution would be to give C.J. a shot on the wing with Macon and Watkins. He should have gotten him more ready in nonconference.
I think with Barford it’s a confidence thing right now. That’s why I think he needs to be back in the starting lineup. He plays very good defense and gives a lot of effort, his offense just isn’t clicking right now, which is a confidence thing, because he can score the ball. I would start Beard, Barford, and Macon as the guards they are all solid on defense. Watkins is a good enough ball handler where he can run the second unit for a couple of minutes while one of those guys gets a breather. And Hannahs just plays much better off the bench.
The big mystery to me – Arkansas seems to have given up on using turnover margin as a staple of its strategy. The Hogs do not produce substantially positive TO margins in competitive games. Rebounding has been something of an offset, but when they slip somewhere – usually perimeter defense but also can be inside – the net defensive results are not good enough.
That leaves the burden on offensive efficiency, and MA does not run his rotations to optimize that either. Arkansas appears to be stuck between concepts, groping for what might be good enough in a given situation. The team has shown flashes of excellence on the offensive end, has maxed out at OK on defense against anyone who has competent scorers. When the rotations gimp the offense in favor of defense, the result is quite unpalatable to me.
I do not understand why after all these years MA cannot produce a good defensive team, and this one probably won’t get there either. They need to get the most skilled players on the court, I think.
Just look at the Florida game. Florida has three guards, and Arkansas did not wear them down. I think it’s funny to read people posting about how MA won’t adjust, won’t ever change. He has changed a lot, but has he found anything? Has he stuck with anything? Seems to be malleable from game to game, even moment to moment. Are they building on any foundation?
They appear to be caught between styles, maybe with too much change on their plate.
Honest question. In my opinion AR lacks length. Was it Robinson (Florida) and Allen seemed long (reminded me of Day and Thurman with length). I thought for several years CMA (and AR’s D issues) is because we really don’t have a long, athletic, 3 that can handle the ball (maybe Qualls, but he was more in the 6’4 guard range). My question for those that have seen them, is Hall and Garland an answer?
I don’t think Allen’s length bothered us, but definitely Robinson, Hayes and Egbunu did. They were also extremely quick. Kingsley and Thomas were very frustrated by that and it bothered Barford and Beard when they tried to go Inside.
Hall and Garland definitely have length. Of course I saw them in a high school setting against high school kids. Hall is projected to get longer. I also expect CJ to develop into a 3 with length.
By the way, Robinson kid is bigger than Day. He is a 6-10 freak.