--------------------- on their best teams. No great point guard-ball handlers like Beck, Mayberry, Brewer, etc. JayWill is becoming very good at this game but he still ranks behind Corlis, Miller, Gafford, Portis, etc. Devo has tons of potential but he is more of a Lenzie Howell than a Sidney Moncrief right now. If his ball handling improves like his outside shooting has improved, he may still make legend status on the Hill before he is done. Not since Nolan’s “40 minutes of hell” has an Arkansas team bought in to this powerful of a defense.
As I said elsewhere with Clay (very politely like he always does) disagreeing a little if Muss has this team finishing strong in the regular season, SEC tourney, and NCAA it will not be because of its great talent, but because of its great toughness, tenacity, strength of will in crunch time, etc. that might, if it does finish strong, even exceed the 94 team’s tenacity. It won’t match their talent, front line power, point guard play, or waves of great players coming off the bench, but it might reach their mental toughness. JMVVVVVHO
Agreed. Eddie’s 78 Final 4 team had one of the program’s two GOATs and Nolan’s great 94 and 95 teams had the other one. Guys like that don’t come along very often, and in this era, you will only have them for a year or two. Three very different coaches with very different systems. DEFENSE is the common denominator.
“Eddie’s 78 Final 4 team had one of the program’s two GOATs…”
It goes without saying that Sidney was a transformational player in UofA history. But Ron Brewer was not far behind…and that Delph guy was pretty good too. Any of those three is far better than Muss has had on his first three squads. But next year???
Who knows how transformational Moody would have been in another 1-2 years on campus? But of course we’ll never know, just as we likely won’t know how much impact Walsh and Smith might have had in the same time.
No they were not far at all behind Sid. Boot scored 44 points against the World Champion Lakers in a game in 1982. No telling what Marvin’s average would have been if the 3 pointer had been around in his day. It seems 6’4 jumping jacks with the ability to defend, pass and shoot were growing on trees in Arkansas in those days.
The good thing about this team is that the field in 2022 is not as strong as the field in 94 or 95. You saw veteran talent at every turn then. Veteran talent now is a player not quite good enough to go to the NBA after 3 years. Seldom does a great talent stay in school long now. Moses stayed 1 year. What would he be like as a soph. Or a Junior. Or a senior like Brewer and Delph with Sidney (a Junior). Or Gafford as a Covid senior?
I think you have to distinguish between the talent level of the best players on the team and the overall talent level of the team.
Which stars were better is certainly a subject for debate, and you have to take into consideration the style of play and rule differences.
But if you look at the overall talent level of the teams, Muss is way ahead of Sutton, who often had one or two stars, an average talent or two and one to four plodders on the floor.
Nolan’s best teams had talent in depth, and it was noticeable because of the big rotations and Nolan’s willingness to sometimes let offensive specialists play more when he thought he could hide or compensate for their defensive shortcomings with his other guys.
The overall talent level of the Muss teams the last two years has been good. He plays a shorter rotation and no body gets many minutes who won’t play his brand of half-court team defense, so the bench talent is harder to evaluate. There are guys on the bench who I think would likely have been playing ten minutes a game in Nolan’s system any time but 94-95.
I think Sutton’s talent was better than you say. He was not much to let too many shoot. With no shot clock, he did not have to let others shoot.
I’m mindful that he turned down Mark Price for Willie Cutts. I always thought Eddie’s teams were talented. At the end, less so. But there was no disputing that he got talent. Plodders is not what I thought about his talent. It was more like they were in harness and held back.
Guys like Brad Friess, Alan Zahn and Jim Counce were great talents. Extremely athletic but just told to concentrate on something aside from scoring. Not plodders.
While we may see the talent on teams of those great college teams in history, you will not see a developed team with that talent ever again (like those great teams of yesteryears). If you’re talented, then the next year they are generally gone on to the pro life.
This is another reason to love Muss and his team of supporting staff. They find a way to get the most out of “this year’s roster”. It’s still unproven that he can do this with a large younger class of newcomers, but I really look forward to seeing it play out.
Zahn was a good post player for that era and Counce was a very good defensive specialist. Friess I don’t recall as being consistently good. But for every one of those guys you had three or four Greg Skulmans who played a lot.
Understood the success of Eddie Sutton’s teams was due to his recognition of undiscovered talent, development of players to reach their potential (or overachieve), & good coaching & team discipline on game day rather than him signing the elite talent? Despite Sutton’s success, especially in the SWC, Arkansas was not considered an elite BB program nationally & not yet a destination for the top national talent.
Always wondered how good Arkansas would have been if Sutton could have signed the elite players & his developing them. His success, or lack of, at KY may have answered that question where they did sign top talent but the expectation & pressure to succeed was much greater.
Muss is now pushing Arkansas to elite status & therefore attracting, signing, & successfully coaching the nationally elite players.
The Sutton team starring Walker, Robertson and Big Joe was a damn good team. Opposing team had lots of turnovers against our guards, sometimes not getting the ball to mid court in 10 seconds. Walker, Robertson, and Big Joe. could each score 20+ and they played aggressive man to man defense. The only thing that this team never did was to make a deep tournament run.
If I’m not mistaken that buzzer beater was only time Louisville led in that game. That UL win also was historic in that it matched them up with Ky in the final…and was 1st mtg between them in many years; mainly cause ky refused to play them.
I believe that’s correct (I was there, and stuck around for UK-UL in the regional final). UK had beaten Indiana in the sweet 16. Talk about a roster of coaches in that regional: Eddie Sutton, Denny Crum, Bob Knight and Joe B. Hall. Eddie was the only one that didn’t win a natty.
UK did refuse to play them for many years, but when you’re meeting in the Elite Eight, you’ve pretty much earned the game. I remember the UK and UL cheerleaders lining up together as the bands played My Old Kentucky Home before the game, and soon afterward they started playing every year.
Which is pretty much how I felt about playing ASWho. When they earn it, we’ll play them. But HY unfortunately disagreed.
Yep, was an all-star regional. I sold my tix for the final game to some big blue fans as we exited stokely (think I doubled my money). My seat that night was near the infamous “rainbow” hair guy who seemed to be everywhere at sporting events back then. I actually struck up a conversation with him, and…he was as wacky as you might expect, albeit very interesting!