Nick’s importance

It’s obvious the “will he even come back….does he even want to be a Razorback” debate are is officially over. And, any question about how much he might mean to the team is also gone after last night’s performance…which will now resonate.

Until now, Nick Smith was great by reputation. And his reputation alone could be seen in the way GA defenders hedged towards him and quickly helped whenever he was a threat to shoot or penetrate. From the jump. But now that he has gone off for 26, his presence will REALLY open things up. For everyone else.

I was prepared to articulate just how I saw his presence impacting the offense, but Muss summed it up perfectly in the presser. They are literally a different offense with Nick on the floor. Spacing is better. The defense will have to extend more. Importantly, our future NBA all-star point guard AB now will have at LEAST one future NBA wing scorer alongside him to whom he can distribute. Sometimes two, when Nick and Ricky are in together. Also, look for Graham to really benefit, as there will be more room to operate. Walsh also got some really open looks last night.

Overall, the offense is suddenly much more fluid. Lethal. We can push it with an additional elite ball handler, and our half court sets will run better.

And the great thing is, Nick plays defense. Is he Devo level? No. But Muss made a point of praising his defense. That, to me, is big.

What does this mean regarding the rest of the season? I think we win one out of two on the road. Then beat Kentucky. Tenner is reeling. I wouldn’t be stunned if we beat Bama. Nick and Ricky will both have to be “on” from the field to beat Bama at their place. But, we have the talent now to stand up to the Tide. I see your superstar with one of our own.

I think we can make it to Sunday in the Sec Tourney and maybe wind up with a 6 or 5 seed. And if we make it to the finals, let’s win the thing. For some reason many on this board don’t care about the conference tourney. Maybe I’m old school ( check that, I AM old school), but I was always super proud when our Hogs went to Dallas and owned the SWC tourney. Then we came to the SEC and owned that tourney. For awhile. Then we quit winning that tourney. I say let’s win the thing again. It’s hardware mates.

As for the NCAA, With Nick, we are at least as good as last season. IMO. Maybe better. And that team went to the elite 8.

Yes. I am as usual being optimistic. Why not.

Nick, thank you for returning. Can you imagine if we had had him and TB all year. Might as well not even think about it. Sigh.


He’s a bada** when he played like he did last night. Hope it continues and have no reason to think it won’t. Very encouraging.


Tru dat. Big game Saturday will validate the thesis.

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I never had a doubt. Never believe the hype. Some people want drama, others have to have it. This was a no brainer, he had waaaaaay to much to lose by not playing.
If the injury required season ending surgery he would have had it a long time ago. It’s been clear he has tried and wanted to come back before now. He would have never played overseas in meaningless games if he didn’t want to be here.

People have been calling me an idiot for believing he was always coming back. But now, not so much.

Flee hype.


That is right approach to have, all others forms fail over time. I’ll take Zig Ziglar everyday over Debbie Downer and give the points.

As to Basketball , you are spot on…One really good player can make a hugh difference on a team as there are only five players. Football on other hand takes a lot more for same impact. Having to defend all five really sorts things out quickly and then if one get hot, it is hard for other team to stop it.


Uh, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Joe Johnson’s freshman year , is the only time we’ve ever won the SECT.


True. I love Maestro, but the SEC tourney means nothing to me. What we had in Dallas was special. This is not that.
Go Hogs!


Cancel the SEC tournament and get ready for the dance. All the tourney is for us to make $$$$$. Nothing else.

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And that was because we probably needed a tourney win to even get in the NCAA

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Yep, we were not getting in if we didn’t win that tournament. We were an 11 seed as an AQ.

I was always impressed with Nick’s defense in high school. Devo has a longer reach than Nick, but Nick can move laterally quicker than Devo. I think we got three elite defenders on the perimeter. Nick, Devo and AB. This team is ready to go to Final Four. Roles have been defined now and the biggest change is Muss has learned how to use Graham and Walsh.


You are right. My memory failed me. We won the conference in 92 and 94. Not the tourney.

Since we can’t win the conference, give me the tourney. I hate seeing the Hogs lose. This notion of not caring if they win or not baffles me. Now if you want to see the conference tourney go away, that’s different. I disagree. I love conference tournaments. But as least I see that logic.

But as long as it exists and we play in it, I want us to win it.

Robbie, the conference tourney is fools gold. Trust me.
It is too much wear and tear for a title nobody will ever care about.

We will always have Dallas, but that was a different time and place…and Coach played more guys than Muss does.

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We can agree to disagree. The NCAA is obviously more important. But if they play, I want them to win. What are they supposed to do? Throw the game? If they play, they are gonna try to win. And if they are trying to win, I want them to win. Simple.

I understand you don’t think its important in the big scheme of things. I just disagree.

Allow me to clarify myself. OBVIOUSLY the SEC Tourney is not as important as the NCAA tournament. There has been talk about eliminating conference tournaments and expanding the NCAA pretty dramatically. I wouldn’t oppose that.

My point is as long as there ARE conference tournaments, I want the Hogs to win any time they take the floor. Its not my nature to just “not watch” and privately hope they lose to perhaps save their legs for the NCAA. If they play, I am gonna watch. And if I watch, i want them to win. And that means hoping they win the tournament.

I understand the notion that it might save legs to not play all the way through Sunday. But, again…what are they supposed to do? Throw a game? And, to repeat, if they are trying to win, I want them to win.

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Courtesy of HoopLens, here are the team numbers from his first four games back. First column is Arkansas’ offense with Nick on the floor and the third column is the Razorbacks’ defense with him in the lineup. Second and fourth columns are offense and defense, respectively, when he has sat:


Pretty strong data. Can’t argue with any of it.

Yeah if you’re scoring 1.22 PPP and giving up 0.84 with him on the floor, that’s rather significant.

Scottie, do you know if they pulled out the end game plays with the walk ons, on the floor? It was only 90 seconds but it would skew the data a little.

Every possession is accounted for. They were out there vs. Georgia for 2 offensive possessions and 3 defensive.

In the Georgia game alone, Arkansas scored 1.48 PPP in NSJ’s 48 offensive possessions, and allowed 0.92 PPP. Pretty remarkable.

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