I came into the season expecting this team to win the national championship. That expectation hasn’t changed. I’m even more encouraged by what I’ve seen from Ricky Council and Makhi and Makhel Mitchell. All three are much better than I anticipated. This team is much more than just the Black, Brazile, Walsh and Smith show. I hope the coaching staff can convince Jalen Graham to play with more intensity on defense. He’s way too talented to be parked on the bench. Devo needs to get back to playing tough D and scoring in the mid-range and in transition. That’s his game.
I am pleasantly shocked at how well we play team defense. Seems like it’s not until conference play that we figure that out and get total buy-in. Was concerned we might suffer multiple early-season losses, thereby hurting our NCAA Tourney seeding come March.
I feel much much better about the team than at the beginning of the season, Today I feel this is definitely a Final Four team and will get a #1 seed at the NCAAs. Reason for upgrading my feelings are play of Anthony Black and Ricky Council, who have far exceeded my expectations. Of course the assumption is that Nick gets back to the Nick I knew, And Arkansas will be in the oddsmakers’ Top 4 for the title.
The thing that catches my attention the most is our ability to have multiple players step up on different days and take over a game or at least contribute big time. Not sure we have scratched the surface of the capabilities of this roster and I do expect us to struggle in January as we start conference play. I don’t expect our struggles to last, continuing to believe that we come together and blow out some teams. When maturity & cohesion develops our roster will show their true capabilities. WPS
I agree, the ability to play defense this early in the year is pretty impressive. Not only that, but so far this bunch falls less for some of the offensive wrinkles that the two Elite Eight teams had trouble handling late in the year. I still think there will be a rough patch or two before February, but so far I think we are a little ahead of where I thought we’d be in early December.
We are ahead of where I thought we would be at this point. We’ve never had a PG like AB, nor have many others. He is incredible with his vision and instincts. Man, he is fun to watch! He elevates everyone else on the court. I knew he was good but had no idea how good.
Council has also been a pleasant surprise, as have the twins. I’m extremely impressed with M15.
He adds exactly what we need in the middle with shot blocking, defense, and putbacks. He has exceeded my expectations offensively, too. He has moves very well and has basketball skills.
Council is off the charts athletically.
TB is going to continue to get better and better. He’s already shown flashes, but once he is able to bring it every night, he is going to be a matchup nightmare. The only missing piece is NSJ so far, and he will be fine once he gets a few games under his belt.
Glad that Devo is back. He is going to have a big role defensively and as a leader.
Outside shooting is going to be a question mark all year, but this team has the ability to score off of their defense and can make up for that deficiency in most cases.
SEC will be tough and great preparation for what should be a deep tournament run.
I’m surprised how many games they have won to this point in the season. This time last season our hogs didn’t look this good. Last January they looked bad. This years hogs have shown flashes of just pure grit and the will to win. They almost overcame 5 on 8 in the second half of the game against Creighton. The length and talent on this years hogs will have to be dealt with by any opponent they face.
Without Nick Smith they are tough. Just imagine how they will play after he get the rust off.
Same. Defensively they’re a few steps ahead than where Muss’s teams usually are at this spot in the season. The emergence of RCIV has been a joy to observe. The rotation/minutes come Mid February will be interesting.
We are loaded. Black is a fantastic point guard, maybe the best ever at Arkansas, Ricky Council is a hoss. I have not been real impressed with Walsh, but I have only seen him a couple of times. Smith has not played enough to know what to think about him.
This team reminds me of Baylor’s National championship team. Good guards with some physical inside players. We should be formidable come March.
There is no doubt the talent is present. It’s just a matter if the coaches and players can bring it all together. Case in point Kentucky and Kanas and all the elite talent teams that fall by the wayside the first weekend of the tournament. Maybe they will or maybe they won’t. I guess we will see in the next three months. Ricky Council is an elite player. I have watched a lot of basketball over my loooong life and that display of his ability at the end of the Troy game was a rare sight indeed. He took that game over. I know it was Troy but still an amazing display of talent!
But: We lack a strong, talented Center. We showed challenges against Troy’s zone. We are a poor shooting 3 point team. Our top recruit still has no points; and looked gimpy in his six minutes on Monday. Our biggest W is an almost loss to SDS. We’ve not played an away game. And of course, we already have one loss.
That said, the play of the team has been exciting and looks much more seasoned at this time than I had expected - especially with Smith sidelined.
100% on the center thing. There are very few centers nowadays. Besides, Muss wants something close to position-less basketball, having bigger and longer bodies than what he’s had, and with better overall basketball skills and IQ.
What CEM has been lacking for his time here is an inside presence. I am favorably impressed with the twins and what they bring to the team, an inside presence that can challenge shots and rebound. Let the skill guys do the scoring. And shout out to Kamani.
There can be little doubt this is the most talented team Muss has assembled… we all assumed that, but the proof has been validated. When great coaching meets focused talent, the results can be a Final Four and I believe it will be. This team has not come close to a peak performance yet.