The Athletic story on the Hogs

Good read.

Is there a way to read it without a subscription?

Unfortunately no. I somehow got in on a deal to subscribe for $1 a month but I don’t think that’s still available.

How to summarize: They talked to Muss about why we scheduled the way we did (stay out of hotels and airplanes as much as possible to minimize virus effects), how we blend in people from the portal, talked a lot to Smith and Tate about their roles on the team, talked about how we’re good at a lot of things but not great at anything, but also not bad at anything; how Muss has gotten this team to mesh in spite of the limitations on meetings and practice imposed by COVID.

Here’s one passage I found particularly interesting


Many winning teams can bank on one elite skill. For these Razorbacks, it’s more like the lack of a shortcoming.

KenPom compiles all the key statistical factors in a team’s profile. Areas that are above average are shaded in green, while those that are below average are shaded in red. The higher the ranking, the deeper the green, and vice versa. Now take a look at Arkansas’ page. It’s like taking a warm mint bath.

To put it another way: This team is solid just about everywhere, if not emerald anywhere. It ranks 37th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 22nd on the defensive side. It’s 25th in adjusted tempo. The underlying strength is one that’s harder to measure, however, and that’s versatility.

He linked to the Hogs’ page at KenPom, but you can’t read that without a subscription either, and I don’t have one.

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Thanks, Swine. Good read.

“They keep a calendar for when to introduce pick-and-roll coverages, baseline out-of-bounds plays and offensive sets.”

article summarizes the eclectic make up of the team and how hard it is to imagine them pulling together given their background.

" So Musselman started a new tradition. Before every conference road game and some home contests, at least one player has to stand in front of the team and answer questions. They include things such as, who are the people you grew up with? Where do you want to live when you retire? What are your post-basketball dreams?

“You get some pretty gnarly answers,” guard Jalen Tate says. “You see how interesting everybody is, and it shows that your coach cares about you as a person. That makes for much more camaraderie and chemistry.”

Faceitiously, I wish they would go ahead and introduce in bounds plays under our own goal after an opponent make. We struggle.

I did subscribe to KenPom back in December and what strikes me looking through and comparing this team to previous Razorback teams and this team is better on paper than any team in the last 20 years except maybe the 2015 team and they are really close to that team depending on how they close out the season.

Something else I notice is Muss has been teaching how to close out a game the entire year. I was at an early season non conf game and we were up by a good amount and every time we got possession, we were playing that possession as it the game was tied. We’d bring the ball up slow, set up the possession and then run a play. There were some games he did that 5-10 times at the end of the game. Someone was complaining “why are we slowing the game down”, there were times the lead shrunk a good but when he was doing that but it was worth the results. I am sure it was hard to tell from watching on TV, but it was clear that he was practicing end game scenarios when watching in person, after that one game, watching the rest of Non Conf, I had a different perspective on what was going on at the end of those games.

This is season 2 with Muss and so far, his teams are playing their best ball come late February early March. They also know how to win close games. I am feeling very confident that as long as we keep Muss, we are going to be very good this time almost every year.


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Very interesting. Watching the games on TV I kinda wondered if that’s what he was doing but it was hard to tell, and the talking heads never picked up on it .

I remember those end game situations and figured that was what he was doing.


I also remember it was mentioned on here that’s what Muss was doing at the time. Clay or Scottie or Matt maybe made reference to it. Made sense then.

I wonder how our stats look the last 7 SEC games. Clearly, going from 2-4 to 9-4 in a major conference is a big deal. True, we lost heavily at home to Missou, and then we played at UT, LSU and Bama and lost all of them, but that occurred immediately upon the loss of Smith and into his recovery. Since then the Hogs bested Kentucky and Missou on the road. And then, the Hogs pulled one out against the Gatorsx, after giving up a fair lead. In totality, those are impressive consecutive wins, even if no single game appears “spectacular” like the Bama blow out of the Hogs while Smith was hurt.

“not great at anything, but also not bad at anything”…sounds a bit mediocre, but it’s been far from it the past 4 weeks.

And that’s what he’s saying, We’re 22nd in the nation in adjusted defense on KenPom, 34th in adjusted offense and 25th in adjusted tempo. Not super duper in any one (unlike, say, Tennessee which is #3 in adjusted defense, or Iowa which is #1 in offense), but the combination is pretty darn good.

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