The Basketball Critics Need to Re-Assess

Going into this year it was tempting to frame the MA narrative like this: Five years, only one NCAA tourney; the Portis-led team was special but just a flash in the pan and due to one extraordinarily gifted player. Now I think even the most severe critics are going to have to re-think. Now it appears we will have made the tournament two of the last three years. Twice in the last three years we’ve won six SEC road games, a complete turnaround from the road futility of so many years going back to the late Nolan era. The two best season records and best SEC records in this century have come in the last three years. You have to go back to the nineties to find as much basketball success as we’ve had in the last three years. Now I’m not saying we should be satisfied with second or third place in the conference, but you can’t deny it’s a big improvement. Maybe the best is yet to come!

The critics will be out in full force when/if we lose in the SECT and/or the NCAAT. They cannot stand for the Hogs and MA to be successful, unless they are the ones who get to define what success is.

Agree the trend is up. Not sure why it took so long, but it’s up. Good recruiting classes are coming in, so it’s time to deliver. The next three years will be telling. The pieces will be in place, and there’s no longer any excuses, of any kind. If after nine or ten years we’re still saying wait until next year, time for a change.

Eddie came in what, 1974? Final Four in 1978, and given the state of the program, extremely impressive. Nolan came in 1985, and by 1990, we’re in the Final Four. Mike came in in 2011? And six years later, we’ll make our 2nd NCAA tourney. Time to earn those millions.

The trolls may have to wait until Mike Anderson retires. I hope he stays up on the hill as long as he wants too! He should have been the head coach after Nolan!

Mike’s had a good year after re-building year last season. And overall, I think he has the program on the uptick for sure. But it is just dishonest to say that “critics” don’t have any reasons to complain. I think it was fair to expect more than an NCAAT appearance 33% of the time. Do you think a coach lasts very long at the UofA when they miss the tourney 2/3 of the time? Do you think they should if that track record continues?

Completely agree! Anderson is here to stay, as well he should be. For six years, I’ve read/heard every complaint in the book about Anderson and for six years I’ve watched him destroy all those complaints. Has the turn around been as fast as we would like? No. Have we had some ugly losses? Yes. But Anderson has brought us back to some respectability as a basketball program.

Personally, I can deal with legitimate complaints. BUT, most that complaints that I’ve seen/heard are out of nostalgia or delusions of grandeur. All the “this wouldn’t happen under Sutton or Richardson,” without realizing the game has changed dramatically since their day. Or they give what they think should be done and Anderson is a fool for not doing it how they would, when based on further discussion, those people don’t have a clue what their talking about. Like Oinkbait.

Yes General, the game has changed dramatically. The best coaches change their approach to the game to adapt to these changes. Other coaches continue to use old approaches that no longer work in today’s environment. That’s the difference.

Nostalgia is precisely why he was hired in the first place. You can’t have it both ways. Either you want the old days with Mike or you want something different with a new coach. I think in his case it’s absolutely fair to ask why he hasn’t gotten us back to that level when that’s why he got the job.

I’ll absolutely agree that was part of it, but also have a consistent winning record as a coach helped too. You can’t be nostalgic of Sutton and Richardson because the game has changed. If Richardson played the same pressure defense he coached in 94 NC season in today’s game, we wouldn’t even be in the tourney. Plus, players don’t stay like they used to, especially in Sutton’s day. I don’t want old anything. Anderson is our coach and leading this team in a new chapter of Razorback basketball and he’s doing it his way. And to your last point, how is that fair? John Wooden had UCLA as one of the most dominant powers in college basketball for over a decade and other than one year, they really haven’t amounted to anything. John Thompson had Georgetown as a consistent powerhouse in the 80’s and nobody has come close to that since. Jim Boheheim(sp.) has coached at Syracuse over 40 years and is in fertile recruiting ground and has won on NC. And on, and on, and on. I agree that I wish we would be back to regulars in the tourney sooner, but the team he inherited to the team he lost due to the draft and kids getting in trouble slowed it down. Seriously, do you not think if Portis and Qualls stayed that we wouldn’t be talking about making the tourney for 3 straight years?

People can keep saying it was nostalgia that got him hired. But I disagree. He got hired because he’d had success wherever he’d gone. Now, it may be true that he agreed to leave Missouri and come here because he felt nostalgia, but I’m pretty sure he was hired based on his accomplishments. We were lucky to get him. Had he not had fond feelings for our program, no way he would have left what he’d built at Missouri. He’s put the best teams we’ve had since the nineties on the court and anyone who thinks he hasn’t successfully adapted to today’s game hasn’t paid attention. I’ll bet if you polled other SEC coaches about who was the best coach in our conference, he would be near the top. Only Kentucky and Florida have won more SEC games the last four or five years.

General, i totally agree with your last sentiment. had Portis and Qualls stayed one more year we’d have 3 straight years dancing. i’d argue that with Portis and Qualls an elite 8 or final 4 run was possible. even if only Qualls had came back i could of seen a sweet 16 as last years team was missing a go-to guy who could get tough baskets, which would of fit Qualls. if any of that had happened i would think MA would be here as long as he wanted with continued success.

OK General, look at Okra State’s first year coach. Kicked our butt. And he didn’t exactly inherit a stellar program from Travis Ford. But he has a system, based on the current state of college basketball. And it’s working. It’s not a system from the 90’s. It’s based on today’s environment. And he was a no-name when he got there, right? Stephen F. Austin or something?

And you continue to ask who would come to Arkansas as head coach? Tens of guys like him.

Brad Underwood? He was a known quantity. I doubt seriously that there are ten like him available. He’d somehow turned the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks into a national power. Did you see what they did to W. Virginia in the tourney last year? He was a great hire for Ok. State. Would I have been unhappy to have him? No. But, really, I see no need to change our coach. Underwood might turn out to be great. I’m impressed so far, but Anderson’s lifetime resume is longer and more impressive. The next time we play Ok. State, we might beat them by 30 as they did us, if we play at BWA. They played great that day. We were terrible. It happens. It’s foolish constantly to want to fire your coach when you’ve already got a good one. You can always point to another coach somewhere who’s doing better. How about Gregg Marshall at Wichita State? He’s on lots of wish lists every year. You keep insisting that Anderson is incompetent and has learned nothing in over twenty years. That’s almost too ridiculous to try to rebut. If he’s that incompetent how does he win so often? There comes a point, Oink, when you’ve got to mark your ideas to the market. If Mike Anderson were as bad as you say, his record would look more like Kim Anderson’s, not like someone who wins over twenty games regularly. Besides, one of Brad Underwood’s first teachers was Bob Huggins who runs a system very similar to Anderson’s. Didn’t you notice that Ok. State ran an up-tempo system pretty similar to ours? They just ran it a lot better the day we played them.

You honestly think we would beat OSU by 30? Bwaaahaaa. Seriously? That has to be a joke.

Over the years we’ve on occasion beaten very good teams by 20 to 30 points at BWA, and many times by double digits. Remember #2 Florida getting thoroughly whipped at BWA in 2013? If our shots are falling and theirs are not, these things happen. Just look at how badly we’ve recently beaten Alabama, Ole Miss, and Georgia at BWA, all pretty decent teams. How badly did Florida beat Kentucky a few weeks ago? A total rout. Should they fire Calipari? Ok. State lost to Texas this year, whom we beat. They were blown out at UNC and at W. Virginia. They’re pretty good, but let’s not get carried away.

And if Monk and Allen had signed we would have the best backcourt in the SEC. What ifs are sure fun; but they aren’t reality and shouldn’t be used to prop up reality either.

Travis Ford was a good coach who had one horrible year and he got replaced because he had a horrible season with good talent around him.

Brad Underwood wasn’t an unknown when he took the Oklahoma State job. He did wonders for SFA. You talk about his system, you do realize that he runs virtually the same system Anderson does right? Based on today’s environment? Depends. In the Big 12, they allow that kind of aggressive play(look at WV) but in the SEC, unless you’re Kentucky or Florida, they don’t. If he played that aggressive in the SEC, he might make the NIT.

I don’t ask who would come to Arkansas, I ask who can you legitimately replace Anderson with who would be better. If you say Brad Underwood, then you are just trading one coach with a similar system for another, so what would change?

Besides, Anderson has proven at this point that he is our man and there is no need to replace him. Your complaints have been refuted time and again by Anderson and this Razorback team and I know that hurts you. It hurts you because you’d rather be right, then this Razorback team be successful and prove you wrong. Give it up!

It wasn’t a statement necessarily of “what if” but an rebuttal to some of the ridiculous complaints that are made against Anderson.

It would be nice for folks to realize Monk and Allen did not want to be hogs. Monk did not win the state championship the kid whom our played him from Cabot has signed to play football for the hogs! Forget those two. They were not loyal fans of the hogs! Portis was and still is loyal to the hogs! I won’t waste my energy thinking about them. This is for sure by Monk not being honest we also missed the 2d best basketball player in the state. Monk will be gone in a few months playing in the NBA D League and Greaseball with pound his his chest about how great he is! Look at the talent Kentucky gets each year and you may realize they underachieve! I’m going to spend my energy cheering for the hogs and those young men that are hogs !
By the way those young me up on the hill are our hogs!