Learn to accept defeat to a better team

I can’t even get mad about this game. Not even mad about driving through heavy rain back to Little Rock and not getting to bed till 1:15 am.

Hogs lost to a better team that is now turning the corner. Did anyone watch the Bama-UK game on Saturday? Bama bigs are good and they have length. UK bigs dominated them. The only reason Bama did not get beat by more than 10 is superior PG play of Bama. When I watched that game, it was clear Kentucky was getting their confidence back. And now this huge win for them will get that swagger back. Those six McDonalds AAs did a job on the Hogs last night. You can tell from Cal’s comments, Arkansas game was the one he was worried about and they were focused for this one. Seemed like they lost their poise in the first 3 minutes, but quickly regained it.

Kentucky also shot the ball well. Yes, they had some open looks, but so do all college teams, but I have seen UK miss open shot after open shot in other games. And I have not seen Kentucky bigs make free throws this year like they did last night.

The difference between UK bigs and most other bigs is that they are quick and athletic like Gafford. They simply outran us and outjumped us. This is one game where there guard lineup killed us. Barford had no answer to Kevin Knox, a NBA lottery pick this year. Whereas their big SF could cover our guards.

The early fouls on Dustin Thomas hurt the Hogs. He was a warrior on the boards early in the game and was a good match for the Kentucky bigs. Als he provides the offense that Gabe, Cook and Hall cannot. No doubt our best 4.

The other missing part in the second half was Barford not making the tough shots he usually does. Also, he seems to have lost the finishing touch on contested layups. He never missed those or came away with fouls. Lately, he seems to be flipping them up instead of trying to absorb the contact. Maybe the guy is gassed from the minutes he has played. This Saturday-Tuesday combo maybe too much for our four guard rotation, especially with CJ not cooking.

Finally it seemed like after calling it close in the first half, the officials let them play in the second half. Advantage Kentucky.

It may feel good to talk about getting punked, outciached and not blocking out and same old, same old. Learn to accept that we lost to a better team. It happens. Look around other college basketball games, it happens. It is right to get mad about losing to LSU, but not to this team, clearly a better and more complete team than us. Getting Jarred Vanderbilt has really helped. Many compare him to Dennis Rodman. This Kentucky team is talented and not the worst Kentucky team as some claim.

Exactly how I felt. That was the best team I’ve seen this year in person. They come in waves inside and Gafford, who tires quickly, couldn’t match up on the boards (also he BADLY needs another 30 lbs of strength). They are short on numbers at guard, but Quade Green and Gilgious-Alexander were very smooth and were highly recruited for a reason.

Because of CJ’s 1st half performance he didn’t play him in the 2nd half and our guards were dead the last 10 minutes of the game. That’s also about the 4th game in a row where Barford is shooting a low percentage. He takes A LOT of bad/contested shots, but that is sort of strong point for him and he was hitting them earlier this year. That game was to big for Hall and Gabe (whom I both really like) and they were non factors.

Just have to reqroup for Bama (probably another drubbing) and win the last 2. We can beat Auburn at home and Missouri will be tough, but they are down to 7 players and 2 of those guys are stiffs. Just make the NCAA tournament.

Excellent post, PJ. We were beaten by a better team. They came to Bud Walton and whipped us pretty good. They laid the wood to us in the 2nd half.

Agree PJ.

Other difference is the bigs came in waves. We have one athletic big, they had 5.

This is a good post. I was thinking a lot of this, but I didn’t know how to put it into words.

Well said everyone. But this big blue team has proven that they are very beatable. Our performance in the second half was dismal. Many say that Coach A is an elite coach…
Dunno just yet…it’s been 7 years without a conference championship…Too me this team still is on the bubble. We could easily lose or win the remaining games. Hope the best for this senior laden team. I hate to see them go to the NIT.

I agree we lost to a better team. A good Kentucky team but not a great one which is why the loss hurts.

Program needs to reward fans passion sometimes and losing to a Kentucky team at home we could have beaten can be discouraging.

Proud of our fans and the students for bringing back the great atmosphere. Wish they could have been rewarded.

While Kentucky had a lot to do with it, the team seemed defeated and uninspired most of the second half.

Kudos to the fans there and I hope they don’t lose hope.

I thought the difference was in depth. The Arkansas guards – Beard, Macon and Barford – were gassed for the last 10 minutes. C.J. Jones is either on or void. He was void last night and didn’t play in the second half. Darious Hall was not his usual bouncy self. Did not help on the loose balls. He was stuck in cement when one popped free towards him with about 10 minutes left. Mike quickly took him out.

The game was there for Arkansas. But there was a lull late in the first half that allowed Kentucky to come back. C.J. had four shots that are his. I wanted him to take every one of them. He missed them all. Two makes or three makes and it’s a different game.

I wasn’t crazy about the way the game was called. Teddy “I’m the Show” Valentine was full of himself, per the usual. He anticipated about three calls that were wrong. And, they did hammer Gafford three times going to the hoops that he didn’t call. The lead official was way behind the play on a strip on a fast break late in the first half. But I guess that happens with a slow referee from time to time.

But I agree with PJ, as I do most times. His assessment of Kentucky was accurate.

7 years without a conference championship? You do realize since AR joined the SEC, we have two conference regular season titles and one SECT title, both earned in the 90’s, and the Tourney title in 2000

I have always said Mike has the potential to be an elite coach. He is not elite yet. Sutton and Nolan were not elite coaches when we hired them. Things fell in place for them and then coaching took over. Sutton had the forune to have Arkansas born triplets and got to Final Four, but did not get back there even with three NBA guys in Kleine, Walker and Robertson. He only become truly elite after leaving Arkansas. Nolan had the fortune of Memphis State being in trouble and landing Huery and Day and a relationship landed Mayberry. He used the first Final Four and repeated Final Fours and became elite.

Things were about to fall in place for Mike when he landed Portis and Kingsley, but Portis bailed out on his promise to get his name in the rafters like Corliss. I have a gut feeling the recruiting classes of 2017, 18, 19 and 20 have the potential to make him elite. He already has a foundation of Elite Eight, whether Arkansas fans give him credit for that or not.

… can’t go along with the premise 100%. I sensed that 11-point burst early in the game set a bad expectation for the players. If the Razorbacks are simply going to be an up-tempo jump shooting team then they will have to accept their lumps when the shots don’t fall (Houston, TAMU, KY-2nd half). Jump shot-based offenses are hot & cold. When the Razorbacks learn to play as a TEAM in the half-court set they will have better results.

This one-on-one mentality of this team is both beautiful to watch at times, as well as miserable to watch at times.

Their defense suffered, too. Defense usually provides the higher octane to make the up-tempo approach work. I agree that depth was an issue in the 2nd half as tired legs don’t produce very good defense. The better teams can withstand the pressure - so, what then? Hogs didn’t have an answer amidst all the dead legs and clanging jump shots.

Even with all the challenges this team has at time, and KY is indeed better than they have been, BUT this year they are not 15 points better than Arkansas in BWA. Good timing for this game - Razorbacks now have some quite important things to work on for the home stretch to the season. Auburn & 'Bama loom, and Mizzou is strong, too.

Good point. We had Kentucky in foul trouble in the first half and they kept taking jump shots. People close to the bench heard Mike plead with the team to go to the rack since UK was in bonus. But players just didn’t do it.

Now personally I prefer Macon to jump shoot rather than drive. For example, when we were trying to make a run late, he had a relatively open three in the corner and instead drove to the rack in a disastrous result.

Agree with this. If CJ had made a couple of those the lead would have grown and CJ would have likely played more providing some much needed rest. I view the game pretty simply. Defense, rebounding, ball and player movement are all really important, but the most important thing is making shots. Kentucky hasn’t always made shots this season, but they sure did last night.

Also, making shots leads to better defense, rebounding, ball and player movement. We’d all like to believe otherwise, but making shots creates energy and lifts the rest of your game.

True. When CJ goes double figures, offense keeps rolling with starters on the bench. Otherwise he is subbed out quick and increases the minutes for Barford and Macon because he is a liability in defense now.

“Learn to accept defeat to a better team.” So let’s settle for Average??? Or…let’s focus on the UK loss like you have but not recognize that numerous issues are recurring and not being fixed from year to year with Mike. This year’s team should be better after starting out like we did through Nov and Dec. Mike made good adjustments last year after Vandy loss but not this year. In the 7th year of Basketball under Mike we should be better. A 13 man roster and 5 starting positions is easier to quickly improve than a 85 man roster with 22 starting positions. We fired a coach in his 5th year at the FB helm after he cleaned up the Petrino mess. He hit his ceiling too and it needed to be dealt with.

Some of our fans are satisfied with where this program is ranked in the season standings. Yes we are behind a lot of other SEC schools over the years. UF has taken our role at the top with UK over the last 10 years. Some of our fans are so convinced we can’t find someone to replace Mike they are scared to do anything. There are some fans that are so crazy in love with Mike they believe we are some great program. Mike has turned the program around but we are just above average with 2 NCAA appearances in 7 years. He won’t adapt and change to take us to the next level.

I don’t want the disruption of a coaching change so it would be much better for us if Mike would adapt his scheme for today’s rules.
I don’t mind being the guy that points out the problems when the lovers flood the board with Rick Schaefer inspired sugar coating. Mike is not a scared cow that can’t be subjected to criticism. The fans that don’t like my critiques don’t have to read 'em, but I will counter post as long as you try to brain wash everyone that we can’t question Mike.

PJ, I saw all of Nolan’s Tulsa teams. He was elite from the first time I saw him. His first Tulsa team was unbelievable and Mike was part of that. He had an elite player, too, in Paul Pressey. Maybe he didn’t go far enough in the NCAA tournament while at Tulsa, but I was pretty sure he was elite as soon as I saw his first practice in Kendall gymnasium on the TU campus.

I agree with that 100%. I think the same thing is true if Eddie. My point was they were not viewed as elite by the entire basketball community coming into Arkansas. Does that make sense?