NET rankings are finally out

So far so good. We’re 23rd, EOE and Misery are both in the top 12, the Wallets are 17th and LSU is just ahead of us in 22nd, We have plenty of chances to improve or screw it up.

Bama is the only other SEC team in what you would consider at-large position (36th). Okie State is 40th. Kentucky is 143rd.

Women’s NET is also out. We’re 15th.

This is again why I said the game tomorrow against Tennessee could be a huge deal for us. Top 25 rankings aside, getting a boost for a road win against a top 10 NET ranked team can launch this team.

It will take some major coaching to be competitive if we start like we did against Missouri. I don’t know if we have been reading our press clippings, simply had an a horrible game shooting the ball, or we got intimidated by a more physical team. Overconfidence should be easy to fix after the ridiculously bad performance against Missouri. Even good teams can have bad shooting games so that performance should not be a consistent problem if that was the case. The last possibility will be much harder to fix. Muss will have to rekindle their confidence and make significant changes in how we play.

Vanover is not physically ready to bang with big seasoned SEC bigs. Jackson has not shot well, either inside or from 3. He has not shown an ability to compete for rebounds or play strong interior defense. If he doesn’t regain his shooting touch, he will be this year’s Cilla. Henderson can rebound and hold his own inside against most SEC big men. He still hasn’t shown the ability to score more than a few points.a game. Perhaps the best option is Williams. Even though he looks like another skinny freshman, he does have some real skills. He does have the height ( 6’10” ) , a decent shot and rebounds well for a skinny player. I think that he is our best option until Smith returns from his injury.

I think that Muss will return to small ball with Williams and Moody at forward and some combination of Sills, Tate, Notae, Davis, and Robinson in the back court. Tate can play some at the 3. Some minutes will have to go to Jackson, but he must contribute on defense, rebound, and make some shots. Vanover must start making some 3’s. Otherwise, his defensive liabilities will severely limit his minutes. Henderson may have to play if the other bigs get in foul trouble.

The loss of Smith has changed my expectations for this team. He was a high level SEC forward and we don’t have any other well rounded forwards at this time. Muss will have to make major changes in style of play and personnel until Smith can return. I think that we can win some games playing small ball. Even after Smith returns, we will still use small ball selectively. Let’s hope that Smith can return quickly and we can handle his loss better than we did last year when Joe was out.

That’s what it looked like to me. We’ve had bad shooting games before, both from outside the arc and missing layups. Horrible first half against ORU (30%) but improved after halftime, although we remained ice-cold from outside the arc. Saturday we didn’t improve, although our three-point shooting was better than against ORU even with Vanover and Desi combining for 0-9.

It was interesting that Musselman zeroed in on shot selection woes after studying the tape. I write notes during a game that will help me make an outline for writing a column. Sometimes I stick with them and sometimes I don’t. One of the things I always ask myself – and this was taught to me by Bill Connors at the Tulsa World – which team is getting better shots. Clearly, Missouri was in this game. I strayed away from that note in writing. It was a mistake.

Bill had great ability to break down games as they were happening. Of course, he was close to both Henry Iba and Eddie Sutton (and other good basketball coaches) and learned much from them. One of the things Bill liked to do was keep track of which team got more open shots inside 10 feet. I don’t mean who got shots there, but who got OPEN shots. I watched him keep detail notes on that stat. Studying a shot clock doesn’t say if it was an open shot, just a shot.

The other thing Bill did was make notes of how many touches the best player on each team would get. He was stunned when almost immediately Wayman Tisdale was getting 30 touches in game early in his OU career. He credited Billy Tubbs for demanding that Tisdale touch it on every possession. Sitting beside Bill at a game was a treat. I was lucky in my early days as a basketball writer at the Tulsa World. I got to sit beside Bill and also ride to and from games in Norman, Fayetteville and Stillwater. Those trips were priceless.

If you are not making shots, then you need better shots. Sometimes you hit bad shots and that can be a disease. That may have happened a little to this Arkansas team. Of course, if you don’t hit them, they are all bad shots. Yes, good shooters need to keep shooting – if they are taking good shots.

I think Vanover can shoot a better percentage, but he can take better shots. So can others. Just because Connor can launch a three, doesn’t mean he should take it. It’s pretty easy for a 7-footer to get off a three. But, a couple of passes might result in him getting a return pass and hitting a three from a better spot.

The other thing that I wrote down that I ended up not working into my column was that Adrio Bailey sure would have a lot of value to this team. I doubt too many moaned that he was graduating. We all get the loss of Mason Jones, Jimmy Whitt and Isaiah Joe. But Adrio Bailey is being missed too. He was a physical force around the rim. He played a lot of good minutes last season.

Excellent point. I for sure had forgotten about his contribution.

Great point, Clay. Adrio had a ton of heart, and I bet Muss wishes he would have had him Saturday. The truth is, had we just played an average game against Mizzou, we would be undefeated and ranked. Watching Mizzou spit the bit tonite was very disheartening. I totally get why Muss was so devastated in losing to them. Hopefully we’ll catch lightning in a bottle tomorrow night. We are most definitely due. Go Hogs!

If you don’t bring your A game in this league this year you’re gonna lose. Misery didn’t have it tonight. We didn’t have it Saturday.

I can’t disagree, but also I still can’t quite get over, with everything we had in front of us with a win Saturday, how we could have laid the egg we did. Oh well. Can’t change the past. I just hope this week goes better for the good guys. Go Hogs!

Sixteen games to go, plus Okie Lite. Win about 13-14 of those and Misery is just a speed bump.

I think this loss can be a huge opportunity for getting the teams attention. Losing is one thing. Performing like this is quite another and I guarantee the players don’t like the taste it left.

Wish we had more info on practices. Besides Coach speak.

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