Before the Northern Kentucky game all the talk was about the Hog Defense, most specifically Field Goal Defense, which was #10 nationally at 35%. Well, as of today the Hogs sit at 39% for the season (up 4 points) in about 6 weeks. Yet yesterday TAMU shot 46.7% in Fayetteville against our Hogs…and before the game the Aggies were shooting the SEC’s worst at 38.2%.
Not good facing LSU in BR when they shoot 49.9%, #7 nationally.
As said elsewhere, we need just ONE 6’10- 7 foot guy who could help us in MANY situations we will face this year. The 7 footer we have SHOULD have passed the NCAA requirements to come to Arkansas and play THIS year but did not, despite a very sick grandmother living in Arkansas and a valid reason to transfer. Wait til next year, as he learns Coach M’s system…
Our defense had 9 steals, 2 blocks and caused 17 turnovers. It also held TAM to only 45 shots. But, to your point, everyone that I’ve listened to on this board that understands basketball has stated that we will struggle defensively against teams that are much taller than us, since we don’t have anyone in the middle. The good news is we are limiting shots, by steals and turnovers, to make up for it.
The defense played hard and played well for most of the game. A&M definitely made some tough shots that just made you tip your cap to them.
To me, the game was close because we just seemed a bit out of focus on offense–really stupid passes to no one and/or uncharacteristic turnovers. Now, the impressive thing to me was that we were a bit out of sorts on offense and still managed to focus in enough to win when it counted. That’s a good sign for this team.
Eric Musselman alluded to it in his postgame comments on the SEC Network. Arkansas, obviously, didn’t defend the way it had for much of the season on Saturday. Texas A&M shot the highest percentage (54.8) on 2-point attempts of any team against the Razorbacks this season. Josh Nebo had a bit to do with that. He’s a load. It was pretty clear to me that Buzz Williams’ plan was for his guards to drive Arkansas’ guards and get close-in looks. They had some success doing that.
But I keep coming back to the Aggies’ empty possessions, especially late. Those were big. The defense was solid when it needed to be. Arkansas averaged one point per turnover forced (17) and added a shot clock violation as well. Three-point defense was good, too. Musselman joked that when he was to meet with the team on Sunday, in his mind, Texas A&M was 2 of 14 from 3 rather than 4 of 14, because they didn’t call glass on the two it banked in.
Arkansas ranks outside the top 100 in terms of opponent 2-point field goal percentage (46.8). If teams continue to hover around or surpass the 50-percent mark inside the arc, the 3-point defense is going to have to remain tough. Right now, it’s still the best in the country.
Scottie, what I thought this team has done very well is not necessarily make defensive stops in the traditional way of the opponent missing a shot but turning the opponent over multiple times in the last four minutes or so. That has been the trend in the Valpo game, Indiana game and Saturday, I never felt like the Aggies would win but certainly Valpo and Indiana could have been losses without those turnovers. That is a big advantage because you don’t want to depend on the opponent missing a shot.
Regarding our three point defense, I hope it is not a mirage. Because I don’t think we have played a good athletic 3 point shooting team yet. Have we?
The best 3-point shooting teams Arkansas has faced this season are South Dakota and, surprisingly, North Texas. Those are the only two opponents in the top 100 in 3-point percentage. I certainly wouldn’t classify South Dakota as an overall athletic team. Looking at UNT’s numbers, they hit 19 3s against UALR and are shooting 37 percent this season, so they’re capable. Had a rough night at Arkansas.
I missed the North Texas game at UALR, but did watch them on TV against Arkansas. Yes, I would classify them as an athletic 3 point shooting team. Arkansas did a very good job against them. That gives me more confidence as we face such teams in SEC.
I agree with this,…I have not seen this capability since the Nolan years. We are able to regroup in the final 10 minutes and turn it on…I believe this, seen in the last three games, is no fluke.
It’s really hard to explain by normal stats, but something’s clearly happening that differentiates the team in the later part of the game.
I believe this is very good news on these Hogs, because if we can keep it close during the first 30 minutes, I believe we really have a chance to win…at home or on the road. So, I’m really interested in how the next game fares with the Tigers.
We have won some games in the Anderson era, coming from behind, using the press to turn over teams. But it was not as consistent as we have seen from this team so far. There were few years in the Anderson era when I thought we always had a chance to win at the end. Darryl Macon free throw shooting plus Barford and Hannahs had to do with that. Darryl was ice in the veins on the free throw line and had a knack of getting fouled in the last few minutes when we were protecting the lead.
It comes down to players making the plays. Whitt, Sills, Jones and Joe are terrific in late game execution.
Scottie is correct. The Aggies got better shots than I anticipated. They got some run outs because of offensive mistakes by Arkansas. The easiest way to get your field goal percentage up is to get layups in transition. That’s not a defensive mistake. that’s an offensive mistake.
Agree Clay that some of the points were scored on run outs due to bad shots on the offensive end, but you may recall there were at least three driving uncontested layups by their PG because of defensive lapses. That is what Scottie may be referring to. I saw some of those driving layups in the Valpo game but we completely shut those down against Indiana.