How much upside does this team have

without Nick Smith and with him? That team last night, with so many young guys and older guys that have not played together, were able to give a veteran Creighton team all they could handle. Just wonder good they could be at the end of the year?

You saw last night. We went toe to toe with a top-10, veteran team with two freshmen starting and nobody who has played together for more than 11 games (Europe plus two exhibitions plus the five so far). And we didn’t have our best player. Get Nick healthy and back in the lineup, and 26+ more games to jell, and we could be making plane reservations for Houston in April.

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I’ll be interested to see how the minutes are adjusted when Smith gets into the fold. Which player do you take off the floor to start the game?

If Smith plays as well as advertised, and if Black keeps up this level of play, I think Arkansas can be very good.

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Just how hurt is Nick Smith? Is his return being determined by the coaching staff/team physicians or by outside parties?

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The ceiling with him is winning the national title.

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Just watching him in warmups, I see no indication of anything wrong. He looks good. I also don’t think Muss is going to just say welcome back you’re starting either.

These guys have been practicing, working hard playing hard. He’s not going to just say heyI know you have been grinding hard since the season started but Nicks well you’re out.

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There is no doubt that Nick wants to play. You can tell how excited he gets on the bench watching his team mates play. Maybe he recognizes this team’s potential also.

Well I’ll go ahead say how good they can be without nick. I think we are already great without him. Really exceeded my expectations and answered my questions about this team. The Mitchell twins front court really is a strength for us. It would be nice if Brazile gets a little stronger to hold his ground in the paint but his three point stroke and athleticism are All American caliber. Our scoring was a question that Anthony Black answered nearly single handedly. It’s no exaggeration he can avg 20 pts and 7 assists. If council gains more consistency with the catch and shoot three ball to go with his scoring off the dribble he will be unstoppable. Walsh has room to grow into a more effective scorer and ball handler. I think Walsh is sort of the last piece to the puzzle without nick smith in the mix. And I expect to see major improvement from all our freshmen. If AB continues to play at this level I don’t see a team in the country we can’t hang with.

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I think our ceiling is very high. I think back to when Jay Will and Devo were freshmen and not getting any playing time. Not sure how many weeks went by before they started getting some run but when they did our team was so much better.

If Ford and Pinion can make that same jump there is no telling how good we may be. The little minutes Ford has played he looks very composed. I haven’t seen enough of Pinion to say much but I know in high school and aau he never backed down from anyone.

One thing that does concern me with Ford is that I’ve been told his Dad is upset about playing time and they are already talking about the portal.

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I think this team will have the potential to cut down the nets. They would have to win a game or two like yesterday to do so and we know how those go.

I was told to not expect much W - L here, because they had so Much development to do. They really showed me something last night. The Blue Jays are Avery good, well coached Vet team.

Be interesting how both teams fair today. I don’t see how either could give max effort after yesterday. Both left it on the floor yesterday. Going to be really difficult.

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I know one thing…we are a legit Top 10 team…without our best player. We can play with anyone and should be scared of no one. Let that sink in.

Go Hogs!

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Well, you know he gets plenty of practice time against a good top 7. Who’s he gonna replace in this season’s starting line up. But, as his minutes increase he needs to, too.

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Long term, NSJ replaces Devo as a starter after he gets into game shape … Devo joins TB and Makhel as primary reserves … production governs minutes played.

Graham has the best chance of the rest to break into the Top 8, but his defense must improve for that to happen. Twins are better on post defense so far.

Wax

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Visited with the Fords here in Maui … if you haven’t had the pleasure, they’re two of the nicest people you will ever meet. From the “horse’s mouth”, Derrian knows his time is coming, continues to work his butt off and absolutely loves being on this team.

Everyone understands the lottery picks are going to play the most this season, as it should be … Derrian will get his opportunity down the road and I’m betting he’ll make the most of it.

Wax

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When we play great teams, you can clearly see the talent difference after the current top 5 players. There’s a reason Muss gave significant playing time to just 5 players last night. When we add Nick, we will have 6 players before there’s a significant drop off in talent.

Also, if you noticed, Creighton gave double digit minutes to just 6 players. 3 other’s played, but for a 3-person total of less than 10 minutes. We had 5 players with 30+ minutes and it was the same with Creighton.

In big SEC games and in the NCAA tournament, we will play primarily just 6 players IMO, including Nick. In other games we win comfortably, I expect to see players #s 7-9 getting 3-9 minutes.

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I think with or without Nick, there is a huge upside, just because these players have only played 6 games together. Yes it is amazing how well they are playing together already, but they will be even better as roles are defined, particularly for the twins. I think progress of twins is the biggest part of the upside. Size matters.

As far as being a young team, without Nick, thus team is not as young as they keep saying. Of the 7 that get most PT, only two are freshmen and the other 5 have experience. 4 of the 5 are juniors or seniors. That us not uncommon.

Upside is with team chemistry and the bigs. Definite title contender by February.

Of course Nick makes the upside even bigger, if he decides to o play.

Yeah there is, but it’s not the one you think it is. The twins were limited because of foul trouble, not because of talent. They went from 37+ combined minutes against Louisville to 17 against Creighton, strictly because of the zebras. I do think it was significant that even with both of them in foul trouble, he didn’t use Kamani at all. That doghouse better have air conditioning in Maui.

Amended: Makhel didn’t get in foul trouble but Makhi sure did.

Disagree. The only player limited by foul trouble last night was Brazile after his 4th foul. Even, with that, he still got over 30 minutes. There is a huge talent difference between Brazile and either of the twins. It’s quite possible that, if Graham never gets on board with defense, that the twins together may get double digit minutes, especially when Brazile and Walsh both get into foul trouble. They got 16 min. together last night and 4 or 5 of those minutes were when Brazile got his 4th foul.

Once again, I’m talking about games games against top flight teams. The Louisville game was a rout early in the 2nd half. That’s why they got many more minutes in that game, plus Brazile had to sit with 2 fouls in the first half after playing only 2 minutes.

Dude. Makhi started. If he’s not good enough to play, he’s sure not good enough to start. This ain’t senior night.

And he got two fouls before the first TV timeout. That’s pretty much the definition of early foul trouble. And foul 3 after one minute of the second half. He stayed out 7 minutes, came back in, had an immediate turnover, went back out and got in for 90 seconds the rest of the way.

Dude, surely you cannot think that Mahki (and I like him for minutes spelling Trevon and Walsh) is even close to as talented as Brazile. Brazile, if not in foul trouble, will be a 30 minute player this season, just like Nick, AB, Ricky, Walsh, and Devo. If the twins took 10 minutes away from Brazile yesterday, we would have had a double digit loss.

Muss has explained why he likes to have (a starter - Muss words), which, for now is Brazile coming off the bench. That name may change when Nick comes back.