Game analysis

I was unable to watch the game. Realize it was one game, but I am anxious for some serious game analysis.
Did the team look well coached? What type of offense and defense did they play? How was clock and substitution management? Any noticeable skill development from last season? Are the players in shape?


Good question. Would love to know some of that. All I see so far is a score. It looks impressive anyway.

Arkansas was very organized defensively. I mentioned the poster boards filled with intel on Rice’s offensive sets and plays at Saturday’s open practice, and, well, that prep paid off. Mason Jones said players knew what plays the Owls were running. It led to the best defensive efficiency rating of Musselmans’ college coaching career and best since the Razorbacks held Vanderbilt to 33 points in 2013.

Rice ran quite a bit of 2-3 zone in the early going. Jones then shot them out of it. Aside from 21 turnovers, not really much to complain about.

Arkansas primarily played four guards and subbed subbed Adrio Bailey, Jeantal Cylla and Ethan Henderson for one another. I thought Bailey played great. He finished a bucket and a rebound shy of a double-double, and his anticipation on defense, to me, was great – 3 steals.

As far as skill development, I’m sure lots of people will be talking about Jalen Harris’ success from 3. His shot looks great and he’s confident in that shot. He acted as if he were strumming a guitar after burying his second 3. I also liked how Isaiah Joe didn’t rely solely on the 3. He put the ball on the floor and created his own shot. He had a crazy left-handed dunk after shot faking in front of the Rice bench and driving baseline. Joe also scored on floaters from each short corner. I liked that a lot.

One player that looked significantly improved to me was Henderson. Granted, the sample size has been small, but his on court performance prior to tonight had been very poor. Tonight, he looked like he has been coached up to provide solid minutes as a big (at least against this opponent). Played with good energy and rebounded well.

Same for Bailey. He’s improved from last year. He has obviously been instructed in a specific role, particularly as a rebounder, screen-setter, and defender.

Easy to see that these guys can coach. We looked like a well coached team. We block out well to rebound, play solid team defense, and generally take good, smart shots. And Coach was right… his guys play hard. I doubt we get out coached very often.

Really good times ahead, especially if these guys recruit like it appears they can.

Watching us last night reminded me a lot of watching us under Eddie Sutton. Musselman obviously plays a faster tempo than Sutton, but I loved how we were playing defense with our feet, not just running past a player hoping for a steal and leaving them wide open. I haven’t seen the rebounding numbers yet, but I was very impressed with how we fought for the boards and were tipping the ball away from the rim toward a teammate to get the rebound. Saw that a lot. Rice wasn’t a very good team, but I was very impressed with our play. I think we’ll have some tough games this year because of our lack of size, but hopefully we’ll stay healthy and keep playing hard.

From what I saw, it seemed the players played with high energy and were much more fundamentally sound than most Arkansas teams. I made the statement to a friend that we either have a a scrappy team that is going to create problems for opponents and be exciting to watch or, Rice is really a bad basketball team. We will have to see how the next few games look, but so far, I am impressed with our new coach.

defensively, they stayed in front of their man instead of the overplay we had been used to. rebounded well. no pressing, no zone on defense. opponent wasn’t that high of caliber at all, hard to tell how we are going to do against teams with a huge size advantage. fundamentally they were sound.

well coached on both ends, fun to watch. lack of size will definitely hurt us this year but kudos to the coaching staff and kids for executing a game plan. They played very well for first game.

I think it’s both:

We are scrappy and Rice isn’t very good

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I did not see the game, but I too thought of Eddie when I listened to the coach at the PC. I was impressed listening to him. They will be well coached. I gather Rice was not a good test, but the guy can sure talk good fundamentals.

Believe he was playing a little “string music”…

Watched entire game. For me, it’s really hard to judge the team play because Rice is about as bad a team as I’ve seen in a while. Individually, I love how Adrio seems to have embraced his role while not seeing scoring as his primary focus. Joe really has a well-rounded game and has added a mid-range game. One of the commentators stated that Muss wants him to shoot at least 15 3s a game. Don’t know if it’s true but if so, he certainly won’t shy away from the challenge. Was disappointed in Cylla and Whitt. Cylla seems to be a classic tweener in every sense of the word. However, he doesn’t put the ball on the floor, seems unsure of his shot (double clutched on a wide open shot just inside the free throw line) and wasn’t much help inside. Whitt needs to be more aggressive. He seemed hesitant and unsure of his role. I think Henderson needs confidence more than anything (well, more strength is obvious). My biggest surprise of the night was Jones! He dunked (now, we know he can), was hustling all over the floor, looks noticeably thinner and was super aggressive on both ends. Like the confidence Harris showed in his outside shot, his athleticism and his energy. He seems to have abandoned the facilitator role he played last year tho.
Team wise, I was impressed with the defense but the offense didn’t flow any more than it did under Anderson in my opinion.
And the turnovers! Just a bunch of carless, fundamentally unsound passes!
I think the freedom that Muss gives the players will also be a curse as it pertains to turnovers. Too small a roster to have so many turnovers.

I do not think this team will continue to make a lot of turnovers. That will be coached down.

Someone who compared some of the aspects to Eddie Sutton teams, I get that. One thing to counter, Eddie’s teams played much faster after the time clock and the 3-point line was added. In his later years at Oklahoma State, his team did look like what the Hogs looked like last night. He stressed spacing and ball movement.

This team is going to have to rely on the 3-point shot, but you can see areas where they’ve improved in how to drive. They will have to get all of the loose balls to counter the rebounds they will lose because of lack of height. If they are even on rebounding in SEC play, they will finish above .500 in league games. But I don’t think that will happen.

Hard to judge too much because Rice was just like I remembered them, not much.

The offense for Arkansas is going to allow Joe and Jones to score a ton of points. Both are excellent 3 point shooters and Mason Jones has always been a scorer. We saw a little bit of Joe being something other than a 3 point shooter last night. That offense allows both of them to shoot the 3, the mid-range shot or go to the basket. Both of those guys have to love how this offense is really built for each of them.

We are small, but will beat some good teams when we are shooting well. We need Bailey and Chaney to really play well to have a solid season and make the NCAA’s. If Musselman gets this team to the tournament, it will be some job by him.

Muss is high energy and coaching them every second on the floor and on the bench… they are prepared and know their roles. Joe played a complete game (point guard for a while) rebounding, assists (7), driving with the ball and of course his pure shooting. Spacing and blocking out was really good especially for a first game. Every coach on the bench was involve and had high energy throughout. The crowd was big and loud… Muss played to that in timeouts, etc. We will get over-powered this year because of lack of height, but it won’t take long with an influx of more talent to see us winning a whole lot of games down the road. You know who is in charge to the last detail and that gives you a chance to do special things in the not so distant future.

Aloha and mahalo (thank-you) for taking the time and effort with y’alls stellar analysis. I think the HI staff has some stiff competition whenever any of y’all retire from your day job!


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Clay, just for clarification purposes, you don’t think we will have a winning sec record or a winning record period?

I was talking about the SEC record. I think the preseason prediction of 11th is about where they should be rated based on the team lacking size. If there is inside point production and rebounding ability against SEC opposition, I’d be surprised. I think teams will play behind our post players and make them shoot over them. It will be tough sledding.

I believe a lot of our SEC success, or lack thereof, depends on Chaney becoming fully engaged and playing hard. Whitt had a lackluster game that surprised me after watching the exhibition games. He needs to, and I believe will, get back to being a team leader, facilitator, defender, and rebounder. He and Chaney can take this team up a notch from what we saw last night.

Pleasantly surprised with Adrio. He’s such a great athlete and now seems to be playing within his skill set. With his hops, if he gets good position, can rebound with the 6’10" guys. Primed for a great senior season IMO.

It’s very early to get a good feel for how we’ll fare in SEC play, but I am pretty certain that this team will improve at a high rate, especially in turnovers, as the season progresses. Barring injuries, I believe .500 is very attainable in SEC play if that improvement happens. I know I’m looking forward to the season regardless. Hope abounds right now with the basketball program.

Like to watch Adrio some more including Georgia Tech game before making conclusions.,

First, he is playing 5 right now instead of the 4 he played last year. This means he is not finding himself on the perimeter like he did in the motion offense last year.

Second, remember the very first shot he took last night was from just inside the three point line with shot clock running down and missed. That happened to him a lot last year.

Granted last year he would shoot earlier in the shot clock because that is what Mike demanded, i.e. take the first available open shot. Certainly he did not do that last night.

But again, I want to see how it plays out over the next 5 to 6 games,

You going to allow anyone to be excited about Muss or are you going to keep pouring cold water on anyone who expresses optimism? I’ll hang up and listen