This team doesn't seem able to play well until they're down by double digits

Especially on the road. Fascinating.

In the second half, we came out and at one point had outscored LSU 29-12 to start that half. Just wondering why we can’t every seem to do that in the first half of a game?

Yes, I know - in the end, it’s the total for the entire game that counts. But we could make life a LOT easier for ourselves if we’d flip those halves around and start off with a bang.

I think it’s the starting lineups that’s been causing us to have slow starts, especially on the road. Hannahs, who’s our best scorer, has been coming off the bench the majority of conference play. And when he’s started Barford, Macon, or both have come off the bench. The second half when he started all 3 we got off to a quick start, we’re able to stretch the floor better and create better offensive opportunities. And I’m not saying that’s the only problem, but that’s one of the bigger things. Other factors I’m sure are adjusting to the court and other team coming out energized because they are at home.

We seem to get surprised at the beginning of almost every game. Get into the game deep enough, we adapt.

We do not surprise anyone.

We don’t get offensive rebounds and we rarely score inside off of the post. If we aren’t hitting 3’s we are in trouble. We started hitting 3’s in. The 2nd half and that opened up the lane for drives by our guards. It was encouraging to see Dustin hit a couple of 15 ft jumpers. If he could do that consistently that would free up Moses more down low.

Wish I knew the answer to the slow starts. What I do know is that it is frustrating and almost unbearable to watch the futility, knowing this team can score fast and often when they get going.

The problem with that theory is that Beard is shooting the three better than Macon and much better than Barford (21%) in conference. I’m not convinced that Barford, Macon, and Hannahs can handle against a really good pressure halfcourt D, which we’ll see in Columbia. I certainly do not like protecting a lead without Beard on the court. He doesn’t turn the ball over, and he makes FTs at a reasonable clip.

My theory -

If MA wants to start five solid defensive players, it’s a group that is prone to scoring droughts.

If MA blends scorers and defenders, the offense still struggles, and the defense is ineffective.

Well into the game, when opposing starters tire, MA can find more groupings that are adequate on defense and can attack the basket on the other end.

I believe this is why Hannahs looks so good coming off the bench at times. If he is in there as a starter, the opponent can deploy its game plan to stop him with fresh defenders. Hannahs is likely to miss his first shots and go cold. When he comes in off the bench, it’s harder for the opposing coach to shift to a stop-Hannahs strategy. Some players might be a little worn down, some in foul trouble. A backup or two are likely to be in the game.

If this team had a solid point guard – good on both ends – and a versatile wing player, I bet the slow starts would disappear. When opponents are fresh, the matchup problems are most acute.

That makes sense. However, Beard still struggled when he started the past 3 games before LSU. And even the LSU game he didn’t play well until the second half when he came off the bench. His best basketball this year has been when he’s come off bench. And Although the 3 point percentage is better than Macon, Macon is a better shooter than Beard. And overall Macon, Barford, and Hannahs are better scorers than he is.

And as far as protecting a lead, I agree he needs to be in the closing lineup. I would sub him for whoever among that other 3 isn’t playing that well. Or go with a small ball lineup if whoever is playing the 4 isn’t playing well.

BLU, I understand your point from the offensive side, but it’s the defense with that unit that is the issue. I know many may disagree, but that lineup is ineffective unless Thomas, Cook, Bailey, or Thompson (4 position) are actually playing good. If not, our guys get gassed trying to defend, and bringing the ball up against a good defense. You’ll see if that lineup starts against SC. We will be in deep trouble. I hate to say small ball, but having either Manny or Beard along with Kingsley may be the better lineup. Personally, I’d put in Barford, Macon, Beard, Manny, and Moses. Better defensive unit, but the scoring issue is there. If you replace Manny or Beard with Hannahs, then the defense will have issues.

This is one of the reasons I’m waiting for our LR kids to show up next year, longer and athletic. Better defenders, and defense leads to offense.

Not disputing that. I think all of our lineups have issues. That’s why CMA hasn’t settled on one yet. What I’m talking about is strictly starting the game, where we can’t score, that’s been our problem the past few games. That lineup I mentioned gives us a better opportunity to put up points early. May or may not work and we may still struggle, but that’s just my opinion.

Spot on.

Could be wrong, but Hannahs started the Vandy and LSU game and we got off to slow start in both of those. I think the problem is more in the players’ head. They come out afraid to take bad shots and get down instead of coming out slinging it. Just shoot. I don’t care. Shoot, rebound, shoot again. I don’t care how ugly it is, so long as it touched our top 2 offensive options on the floor first.

Hannahs was among the top five Razorbacks in minutes against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt (home and away), Missouri (home and away), Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi State and LSU (road).

Hannahs started against Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt (home), and LSU (road).

Hannahs started at LSU. Didn’t help much. Started against Vandy too; 25-4 ring any bells? I don’t think the lineup, or site of game (Vandy being at home) gives us any answers.

I was saying starting Hannahs together with Barford and Macon. That lineup hasn’t started a game together in quite a while. I believe the Minnesota game was last time they started together. When Dusty and Macon are on the floor together, it opens the floor better, because both have a reputation of not being afraid to shoot the 3 ball and can be streaky.

And we were down 17 at half at Minny; it was one of our worst offensive halves of the year (25 points). Not the best impetus to try that lineup again.

Both Macon and Barford are much better players now than they were then, especially Barford. During that time Barford was a turnover machine. He’s gotten a lot better with that.

Also, I don’t have the numbers, but I’m sure every starting lineup has got their butt kicked at the start of the game, hence CMA continuing to switch it up. Again, I was just giving my opinion on what I thought was a good starting lineup, based on the fact they worked well together against LSU and overcame that 14 point deficit. My thought is maybe something clicked with that lineup. And I’d imagine that’s the starting lineup we’ll see against South Carolina.