What's Good and Dispiriting About This Team at 13-5, Net 33

Ok, some of the “Good” is quite obvious. First 13-5 is much better than 5-13. Secondly, Net 33 seems to be a tad bit better than our 13-5 (SEC) record may suggest (e.g. higher than LSU and OSU). Others seem to like their potential.

And for sure, it’s fun watching Devo and Moody grow up on the court. Desi looks like a junior should and I like what I’ve seen in Williams.

But the “Not so Goods”: I’m blown away that our field goal defense is #132 nationally and only mid-tier in the SEC; #67 in 3 point defense when we seemed so good last season. Mostly, I’m very disappointed with our “bigs” as a group after two full Muss seasons… If this is the Muss way, I’m at a loss of understanding.

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Well Muss didn’t have any bigs last year, so I think you can throw that out. I’m also disappointed in our FG% Defense. I’m just not seeing the same tenacity and energy on a consistent basis that last year’s undermanned team had. My biggest complaints about this team though, are unforced turnovers and missed layups and point blank shots.

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I’m with you guys on defense. Needs improvement. I think Whitt, Joe and Bailey were all three really good defenders on the ball and also great at rotation. The help defense is what has slipped the most. The other thing that has slipped is transition offense. Jimmy Whitt, Mason Jones and Isaiah Joe were great finishers in transition.

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Something that may surprise some: Arkansas has moved up from No. 34 on KenPom to No. 30 since the Oklahoma State loss.

But yes, transition offense has been pretty puzzling for most of the year. Several guys appear somewhat uncomfortable in the open floor. Mason Jones was incredible getting downhill with the floor broken, but he was much more often than not playing at a great pace – his pace. This year I see lots of full speed ahead or hesitation and not a lot of in-between. Others make passes that could lead to a layup or open 3 up to a full second too late, or not at all. I fully expected this group to be much better getting offense out of the flow than in halfcourt sets.

Agree totally. I’m beginning to wonder if Muss was expecting more out of Vanover and had consciously spent more time on half court sets than transition offense. His “pace and space” offense looks to be more space than pace this season. It seems to be true especially in SEC play.

We showed what this team could do in the 2nd half of the last Auburn game. That was more what I was expecting this season. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Vanover played at all in that 2nd half.

In my view, the team last year was a better team than this year’s team. We lost 2 NBA players and Jimmy Whitt, who was such an outstanding player last year. Last year’s team played well together and was so much fun to watch. They were small inside, but just had something special about the way they played. This year’s team just doesn’t have the chemistry or bond the guys had last year. Last year, we played some strong defense, also. We got about all we could get from that team.

This year’s team seems to rely on emotional highs & lows rather than disciplined play. Most of our struggles & losses have been in part due to extremely slow starts & large deficits to overcome.

Per being old school & growing up watching Eddie Sutton coached teams, there was strong discipline on offense & defense with deliberate shot selection & with game plan & execution that exploited opponents’ mistakes & weaknesses. We may not have won every game nor had the best talent, but those teams played with confidence & were never out coached nor out played on game day.

I saw much of Sutton style with Muss’s team last year but not so much this season. With a top 5 recruiting class, Vanover, & the inbound transfers, expected to see us rebuild on last year’s success. Muss coaches with a high level of intensity on game day but question if that sometimes evolves into conflict with players & therefore counterproductive.

I think everyone is overlooking “experience”.

Last year, we had a team with probably the most SEC P5 experience. All but Whitt had played together for a year in a P5 conference and Whitt was a 5th senior. Remember a year before in 2018-19, that team was on the NCAA bubble until they lost the last 2 or 3 games.

This year’s team has 10 newcomers, only one has significant SEC experience and only 3 have P5 experience.

Experience plays a huge role in tight games and on the road.

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Exactly right PJ.

Not getting a full non-conference schedule to blend all the new guys hurt. Other teams suffered the same problem, but not many rely on so many new players. More games would have helped the freshmen.

And of course you are correct, PJ!

Yes, but it’s Muss’ year 2; this is his making. Many of the newbies are highly experienced college BB players…you’d think grad transfers, and prior year transfers, would know how to play defense, rebound, dribble, make assists, jump more than 2 inches, pump iron, etc.

The play of the grad transfers has been underwhelming thus far. Injuries have limited J Smith, but he’s been pretty solid thru the season.

V Jackson has been a bit of a disappointment.

Connor Vanover is who he is. He’s a finesse “4” that can’t be physical in the paint and get you those tough rebounds. No amount of coaching will change that.

Feel sorta bad for Jalen Tate. Being forced to play out of position at PG. Trying to fit square peg into round hole, and all that.

Year 2! Wow daboar are you serious? PJ was exactly right as I said before and another very important thing happened last summer I.Joe changed his mind too late for Muss to recruit his position.

Huh? Tate was recruited as a PG by Muss. That’s one of the reasons Tate came here. Muss’ PGs, can be Point Forwards, primary facilitator, team QB, etc. Whatever you want to call them. His sweet 16 Nevada team had a 6’7" sf/pf as his “pg”.

I think Tate has done a very good job of running this team, with the exception of a couple of recent SEC games when he’s had too many TOs. Jimmy Whitt was a similar style “PG”. JW was better at it than Tate has been so far. Jimmy left big shoes to fill.

I guess, I should just say wps

I agree, DFW. We played a lot like Coach Sutton’s teams last year with the hard nosed defense and getting a lot out of the talent we had. I forgot to put that in my original post.

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Daboar, serious question. Have you ever been a coach at any level?

Last years team just ran out of gas in games because of a lack of depth! Also the injury to Joe cost a few losses.
If Vanover and Notae could have played they could have won a few games with just some fresh legs.

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