The 2020-21 Arkansas basketball team

I had a chance to talk to Coach Musselman, his staff and the new players recently when we all were at Top Golf in Rogers.

What a great looking group. The addition of length at every position is mind-boggling.

Everyone looks to be in great shape, obviously with Bay Bay and Notae being hurt.

We’ll see how they play as a group, but it really has a chance to be something special, especially now that Isaiah is back.

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I am really excited to see if we can Gel into a top notch team… probably going to take a minute for Muss to get the right combinations of minutes played in but if we get it figured out we have a chance to be really good

He’ll do what most coaches do, go with the hot hand, the guys who are playing best. You perform, you play, you don’t, you sit,. That’s why Ethan got minutes late in the season and Cylla didn’t.

As a side note, I drove by the UNC-Wilmington campus yesterday and thought about Cylla. The Walmarts here have UNCW merchandise.

Time is the key. That’s why I’m hoping there will be a non-con schedule though I seriously doubt it. If not, practices will be more intense to make sure everybody is ready.

Raining on you yet?

Had some thunderstorms this morning as the outer bands of Isaias swept in. It’s currently dry but the fun should start around 6 this evening.

Question, for those with insight, does coach Muss play a deeper bench now? He definitely has the talent to do it and you would think he does since he recruited most of them, but it does go against his stated philosophy of playing a shorter bench. I would love to see him go like Nolan in playing hard nose defense and wearing out the opponent so they’re exhausted in the last 5 minutes.

My guess is yes.

Playing good defense and not turning the ball over will keep the youngsters on the court more.

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That is something to look forward to, if Muss actually uses 10 players. As you said it is against his nature.

This subject is talked about quite a bit on talk radio and chat boards and Muss knows that, I am sure. So I suspect thru most of non-conference part, he will use 10. Just wonder what happens when rubber hits the road at the start of SEC and games get tougher and closer.

I know a lot here are saying Muss will use all the freshmen and play 10 or 11 the whole season. I am not willing to bet on that. I would like to see it first. When it comes down to the crunch time, coaches usually go with what has worked for them.

Also deep benches have a strange way of disappearing as you get towards the business end of the season.

Definitely this is one item that will be interesting to follow.

One thing to think about is that Muss does not have a long history of being a head coach on a college team. Nevada, and that’s it. I think it’s safe to say he has never had a team at Nevada with 10 players as talented as the best 10 he has this season.

At Nevada, with his best teams, he had 2-3 very talented players and 3-4 good role players. I don’t think we can say with certainty that his choice there was to play just 7 players. Perhaps the talent level of his 8th, 9th, and 10th players dictated that he needed to do that to win.

The talent level of his 8th - 10th players on this year’s team, may dictate he needs to play them to win big. I hope that’s the case.

Judging by last yr I am pretty sure that’s how you will earn PT. We played phenomenal defense most of the year until lack of depth flat wore us out at the end

Very good point Harley. Muss college coaching history is short and at just one mid-major college. He may coach a P5 team a lot differently.

It is probably wrong to assume that he does not like to use more than 8, even though he did say that last year. It may have been coachspeak because he didn’t have more than 9 eligible players.

A lot to look forward to see how he adapts to coaching in SEC. He is going against some very good coaches and very good talent. That itself will take changing the coaching strategy he used at Nevada.

The talent level of his 8th - 10th players on this year’s team, may dictate he needs to play them to win big. I hope that’s the case. Another strong consideration is the fact that with talent such as we have now, they are not going to want to set on the bench too long. Muss may have to figure out a way to keep them all moving.

After chatting informally with him, I am confident he will play more than last year for sure.

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I looked up some NBA box scores last season from Muss’s time in Sacramento and Golden State. He was playing 9-10 consistently and significant minutes. The dynamic is a little different with 48 minute games, I suppose, but he trusted his talent then. I would expect him to go at least 9 or 10 deep with this roster.

I wouldn’t go by NBA substitution pattern. Not only 48 minutes but also 82 regular season games. You have to have a backup for each position. However, the rotation is usually cut down in the playoffs. I would be curious to know how many he used in the playoffs.

He never made the playoffs with GS or Sacto but he made it in the CBA and USBL. I don’t think I’ll be able to find those box scores though.

You’re right about 82 games but another consideration is that sometimes your rotation is shortened because of injuries, if you can’t get someone up on a 10-day contract. No way for me to know if the box scores I looked at were affected by that factor.

pj with all due respect I don’t think that Muss knowing that he has not played as many players as the radio listeners want will affect whether he plays more this year or not. The only factor for Coach Muss is who can help him win games and who will play tough defense. If he thinks that he can do that with 9-11 players I think he’ll do just that. I doubt that what the listeners want will affect his coaching. I agree with your other comments.

Way too much Talent for him not to play 8-9. He was born at night, but it sure wasn’t last night.