What Offense does Arkansas use?

Just what type of offense does CEM employ? Some type of motion? It appears to my untrained eye that the offense ran through Mason Jones during CEM’s first year, followed by Moses Moody and then JD Notae.
For this season, being brutally blunt, I had the impression the initial plan before injuries was for AB to be the great facilitator dishing it to TB and NS with RC4 taking NS spot until he could resume playing.
But when TB and NS went down presumably for the season, that model got blown up. The only consistent scorer has been RC4, other than his recent slump. Nobody has successfully stepped up to replace the anticipated high scoring of TB and NS. Devo and AB have tried to a limited success. Pinion has failed. Five Star Jordan Walsh doesn’t appear to be of any consistent scoring threat.
UA…Campus of Champions

He calls sets and they run a lot of two man games for matchups. A screen is designed to get a switch and a mismatch. It is not motion. It is sets. It is the NBA game.

In the old days you could have a continuous offense that replenishes and resets. The shot clock does not allow for that.

It’s the NBA game. Run an action then clear out for an open floor play.

It’s ball screens and pick and roll action with lots of options.


Good question. I’ve never heard any media ask muss to explain his offense, other than the stall game he employs at the end of games every time we have a lead. He’s had talked some about getting more turnovers and points off turnovers but I don’t know about his half court offense. He said at the beginning of this season we will need to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. He’s said that a lot actually but that’s about all I can think of. And it’s about all I see on the court. As far as offensive motion and ball movement there’s been little said and not much to be seen on the court. They’re running a pick and roll mostly or a clear out isolation play. We saw more effort to get the ball to jalen Graham in the post but honestly whenever the ball goes in the post it’s gonna be a shot attempt because the offense just stops. We have very very few assists. That’s what caused our offense to disappear down the stretch yesterday. No assists. I’d like to hear muss talk about his offense philosophy.


What you see is what it is. Basketball is pick and roll. It’s ball screens. Over and over. It’s the NBA game. He is wonderful at picking out the matchups he wants and pointing to the screener based on defenders. No one in college does it any better.

That is the way basketball is played. The shot clock does that.

If the defense sags like people are sagging against Arkansas, you light them up with threes. It’s that simple.

They go under against screens, light them up. If they go over or switch, take the lob.

But you need shooters. Alas, that’s the rub. I liked those sets with Smith and Brazile. Not so much now.

If you do not have shooters to spread the defense, the lane is clogged. You must spread the floor with two shooters in corner. One of your bigs must be a shooter. That unlocks the lane for dribble drive.

Get some shooters.


Gregg Poppovich and Steve Kerr, the best offense coaches in the game, would beg to differ on this claim.

Clay maybe your point is about resetting with the point guard getting the ball up top and waiting to get his teammates in the right position or something else. But there’s plenty of time for continuous offensive motion and for a steff curry or many ginobli type play maker to get the ball back to make a play if the shot clock gets below ten. Continuous offensive motion is exactly what defines the best offensive teams. The warriors offense never stops moving. It’s really amazing how hard steff curry works without the ball and how much trust the players have in the system especially trusting they will get the ball back for a good shot if they pass and keep moving. I can’t help but think about this every time I see our best shooters Ricky council and Joseph pinion playing without the ball in their hands, please please please work harder and keep moving. This doesn’t seem like an emphasis by our coaches though. When AB or Devo or Ricky or Graham have the ball, they work hard to make a play with the ball in their hands, while everyone off the ball basically stands around. That’s our offense. Muss has said that’s not exactly what he wants because his more successful teams were better cutting to the basket off the ball. But beyond that one point I would like to know more in detail what muss is trying to get from his offense.

Thanks Clay that is very appreciated information…
I have a pretty good knowledge of basketball but don’t always understand all the ins and outs of basketball. I have wondered why we don’t run motion offense very much. Sometimes I see us moving quite a bit. I do see us running a lot of what you describe and it is successful when we are playing our best.

He does do a good job using pick and roll, or whatever we should call it, let’s call it an on ball screen because there ain’t much of a two man game with it. But he does a good job with the on ball screen to create a mismatch and take advantage of the matchup he wants. This is maybe the whole focus of our offense and has a clear resemblance to the nba game. I wish there was more involvement from the other four players on the court like you see from the warriors. But there is a lot of nba teams that are content to zero in on a single matchup, like you see with Durant and Kyrie. However the nets also have some deadly three point shooters just standing in their spot to space the floor and hit wide open threes. Your point is dead on that that’s what the hogs lack this year. I think the most comparable team in the nba to the hogs this year is the lakers. Good coach and great players who focus on targeting matchups with their superstars. But no great shooters to space the floor and not a lot of ball movement or assists

You are making my point. You watch Curry. It’s two man game. Ball screens. I watch them. Kerr points to the screener. They also have a big who can shoot a three.

Jaylin Williams shooting a three made a huge difference. You switch, send him to the blocks.

The Hogs don’t have a big who can shoot a three.

I just came from three days at duck camp with Jimmy Counce. He is smarter than anyone here. Not close. He knows more basketball than anyone here. Not close.

He’s explained it to me in detail.

He played four years for Sutton. Coached theee years with him.

I believe everything he’s told me. I may not explain it great. But I won’t change my beliefs.

We need a clever point guard. Two more shooters, one being a big.

Muss can coach em. He had that combination with Smith and Brazile. Did not work out.

He knows what he needs. He will be fine. Unlucky this year.

I won’t spend any more time on this. I defer to coaches who have explained this to me in detail.

Get a point guard. Get a big who can shoot threes. Get more shooters.

We don’t have Curry or anyone close. Kerr has the luxury a guard (or two) who forces the defense to extend to 30 feet. That opens the floor.

Not comparing Curry to Smith or Klay Thompson to Trevor Brazile. But take out Kerr’s best two and it’s a string of losses and bad offense.


We had 16 assists yesterday to Baylor’s 5.


Shooting was not the problem in the last 3 losses for Arkansas and not the main issue going forward in my humble opinion:

Vanderbilt loss:

Arkansas shot 49% from the field, 39% from 3, and scored 84 points.

Missouri loss:

Arkansas shot 46% from the field, 41% from 3, and scored 76 points. The field goal and 3-point percentages were higher for Arkansas than Missouri in that game. In fact, Arkansas made more 3s than Missouri on fewer attempts.

Arkansas lost that game because they turned the ball over 21 times and shot 14 fewer free throws than Missouri (with 7 fewer makes for Arkansas). Arkansas lost by 3 points.

Baylor loss:

Arkansas shot 51% compared to 34% for Baylor. Arkansas also made 7 more FGs than Baylor and only had 2 fewer 3s despite Baylor being a team that relies heavily on 3s.

Arkansas lost because they had 15 TOs compared to 8 for Baylor, and because they shot 13 fewer FTs than Baylor.

Of the 7 losses that Arkansas has at this point, I would say that only 2 of those (at LSU and at Auburn) were the result of poor shooting. The Alabama loss might be in that category as well but Alabama was a top 2 team (at least until yesterday) and Arkansas was within 2 points with 5 minutes left in that game before Alabama hit 3 3s in about 50 seconds to break it open.

This Arkansas team is certainly not a great shooting team and by no means am I trying to imply that they are. And I have no doubt that Muss would like to have more shooters. But I do believe that the whole “need more shooters” thing is a little overblown at this point. And I also think that just about any coach would tell you that they would like to have more shooters.

The bottom line is that if Arkansas can simply take better care of the ball and at least stay even at the free throw line, then i believe that they can play, and beat, any team out there on a given day.



We just forgot how to play defense in the second half at Vandy. Turnovers got us at Misery and Bayluh.

I agree with Clay, it’s constant pick and roll just about, with some clear out one on one matchup stuff, that has options off off it. Graham has presented new options as well facing up and backing down which is pretty rare, but he’s pretty good at it.

I went back and looked at some shooting percentages for Arkansas in some of their biggest wins last year. And you might be surprised at how low those percentages were. Such as:

Win vs. #1 Auburn: Arkansas shot 34% from the field and 30% from the 3-point line.

Win vs. #13 Tennessee: Arkansas shot 38% from the field and 23% from 3.

Win vs. #1 Gonzaga: Arkansas shot 40% from the field and 28% from 3.

Again, the “lack of shooting” narrative is misleading at best and just simply is not reflected in the numbers.

Devo and AB are doing some really good things for this year’s team. But they both need to cut out the sloppy turnovers. If they can do that, and Arkansas can continue to play excellent defense but with fewer fouls, then they will be “a problem” for other teams come March.

1 Like

I think he’s still trying to figure that out.

Point guard was easily part of problem. The threat of a shooter changes everything. Seriously, if you don’t think that is part of problem I can’t help you. You don’t have to dribble it into five defenders if you have shooters. Oh boy, I can’t help you. Need more threes. Threes count more than twos. I’m being smart alek but this is a day when you gotta make some threes and need that threat to keep the lane clean.


I have been on this board for years and so I knew that if you responded to my post it would be done so in a certain manner. But that is fine. I am a big boy and can take it.

So according to what you are saying, the fact that Arkansas gave up 60 plus points in the second half to Vanderbilt is not what cost them that game. It was the lack of shooters for Arkansas.

So the fact that Arkansas had 21 turnovers at Missouri and got whipped at the FT line is not what cost them that game in your opinion. It was the lack of shooters for Arkansas.

So the fact that Baylor had 7 more possessions than Arkansas with a “shot on goal” due to the TO disparity and had several more FTAs and FTMs in not what cost Arkansas that game in your opinion. It was the lack of shooters for Arkansas.

If that is how you feel about those 3 losses then I can’t help you either.

By the way, I don’t recall Muss complaining after any of those losses about “poor shooting” for Arkansas. But what does he know anyway. If Jimmy Counce says it is the shooting, then by golly it is the shooting!


The Vandy game was an utter collapse in all respects. That was a mental meltdown of epic proportions. It was not like anything I’ve seen.

I think the biggest problem with this year’s team is they are not very sound in 2 critical categories… turnovers and free throw shooting, both of those will determine who wins the close games a tremendous amount of the time. This is a major difference between the last two teams Muss has had

We commit way too many unforced turnovers and are not reliable at the free throw line… until we get very fundamentally sound in those areas we’re going to continue to lose close games

1 Like

Muss has talked quite a bit about this, since even before the season started. It’s just that it is not a surprise to him at this point. What is the point in complaining about something that you fully expect going into every game? This is exactly why he’s so frustrated about NSJ being out imo. But it doesn’t stop him from saying we have to make shots also, and praising devo for example for starting to shoot the ball. We will not win many games in the post season if we can’t make shots no matter how good our defense is. And Ricky council won’t be able to carry the team if some other guys can’t make shots. Vandy was the only game where our defense failed us. In every other loss our defense gave us a chance.

You are correct that Muss talked quite a bit about the shooting prior to the season and also early on. I respectfully disagree that the reason he is not talking about it now is that “it is not a surprise to him at this point”. He is not talking about it BECAUSE THEY ARE SHOOTING BETTER.

Also, last year’s team that made the Elite 8 shot 43% from the field and 30% from 3. This year’s team is shooting 47% from the field and 30% from 3.

Last year’s team had 1 good 3-point shooter in Umude. Wade, Toney, and Jaylin Williams were not good 3-point shooters. Jaylin, for instance, made 17 3 pointers the whole season and shot less than 25% from there. Notae put up a lot of 3s but only made 30% of them.

And you are right about the defense only costing us the Vandy game. If you read my earlier posts, I said that we lost the Missouri and Baylor games because of TOs and FT disparity - but not because of “lack of shooters”.