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After No. 15 Arkansas dropped a house sport to No. 4 Alabama on Wednesday, had a pair of five-stars on campus for visits and misplaced to Vanderbilt on Saturday, there are many questions for this week’s HawgBeat Hoops Mailbag with JC Hoops.
As at all times, all questions on The Trough premium message board are answered, whereas solely a few the highest questions from Twitter are answered.
How can we at all times find yourself in the identical scenario with Muss? Bust our a** on protection, can’t throw it within the ocean or discover any factor that appears like an offense at begin of convention play? I’m not bashing him, I belief he’ll get issues found out. But how can we wind up in the identical spot yr after yr? – HawgBeat person @Hogdaddy10
I feel it’s a blended bag of accidents, not determining rotations early sufficient and roster constructing.
The first Elite Eight workforce hit a hunch with out Justin Smith after which got here again sturdy, nonetheless primarily led from the defensive finish, however that they had guys who may area the ground. Moses Moody was 36% from three, Jalen Tate and JD Notae have been 34%, and Desi Sills was 32%. The discovered their offensive groove as a result of that they had succesful shooters in three beginning spots and one off the bench.
Last season, the rotation was wonky. No one knew their position till after the Vanderbilt loss or so, and there have been actually solely two shooters on the roster. Again, protection spurred the turnaround, however there was a restricted quantity of spacing and capturing. Notae was excessive quantity and underneath 30% whereas Umude completed round 37% – however nobody else actually took any outdoors photographs. That workforce nonetheless managed to attain a good quantity due to its capability to chop and rating inside.
This season, there are the harm points from the primary Elite Eight squad and the shortage of outlined roles from final season. There is hardly any slicing that was current on final yr’s poor capturing workforce, and the capturing is even worse than final yr (which I did not suppose can be potential, personally).
I feel till Musselman begins constructing a roster with a pair shooters which can be able to step into the rotation fairly than simply filling with a ton of proficient athletes. Nothing incorrect with the lengthy athletes, however once they cannot shoot, and nobody else on the workforce can, both, it actually limits the offensive functionality.
Yes, Trevon Brazile and Nick Smith Jr. knocked down photographs and would assist area the ground, however even nonetheless, their percentages have been strictly towards non-conference competitors. There’s no pattern of them on this roster taking part in towards SEC competitors and sustaining their capturing percentages. Everyone else’s proportion has fallen since convention play began.
It actually does come right down to roster constructing. Granted, the capturing would not be almost as unhealthy if the workforce have been wholesome, so I’m not going to be overly important of the roster constructing over the low season for this roster, however I feel that’s the place the offensive struggles lie over the previous few years: not having any shooters.
The finest shooter Arkansas has had underneath Musselman that has taken not less than 50 threes was Stanley Umude at 37.1%. Behind him is Moody at 35.8%. That’s not a sustainable strategy to construct an offensive workforce in top-of-the-line conferences within the nation, in my view.
Now, Musselman makes up for that by having elite defensive groups – however offenses within the convention are getting higher, and protection will solely carry Arkansas up to now. At some level they’ve to attain, and I do not know if this workforce will determine how to try this at this level.
Do you suppose the issues with Pinion’s protection outweighs the potential 3pt capturing he may present? Is there a method they may “cover” Pinion whereas on protection? What lineup would work finest? – HawgBeat person @Razor3367
I feel it will depend on how they’d use him. Teams are conscious sufficient of him that he received’t be open simply by standing within the nook. They’d must have units and quick-hitters for him to get open off some curls or double screens or one thing. If they fight that method and it really works, I positively suppose having him on the ground can be helpful.
If he’s simply standing within the nook, or if he’s nonetheless not getting appears to be like, I don’t suppose simply having a menace on the ground would matter if he’s not having any alternatives. It may assist with some spacing so far as attracting his man to the perimeter, however the different 4 would have the ability to nonetheless pack it in.
*Maybe* operating a matchup zone would work, however I don’t suppose Musselman would go for that. I’m not even certain if it will work. Essentially that may simply permit him to cowl a chosen space with some flexibility. What sort of flexibility will depend on the coach, however sometimes will be one thing like a straight zone but when a offensive participant dribbles the closest man picks him up as a person till he passes, fill again into the zone, and repeat.
Matchups are tough, however I feel it *may* assist to cover Pinion some as a result of he wouldn’t be held accountable for a person always. But once more, I don’t suppose Musselman would go for it and there’s no assure it will work, essentially. Just a thought.
I’ll nonetheless recommend the two-big lineup would work finest. Makhi Mitchell, Jalen Graham, Jordan Walsh, Ricky Council IV, Anthony Black. Run a high-low set towards zones and attempt to get your offensive submit weapons to attain and go inside-out.
If you have been speaking about the very best lineup with Pinion particularly, I’d put him in Council’s spot and convey Council because the sixth man. The inside-out sport would actually profit a nook shooter if perimeter defenders begin to dig down to assist or double the submit.
Do you suppose we see the “huge” lineup completely, otherwise you suppose it’ll be a sport to sport resolution? – Twitter person @ConwayTweetE
After seeing it two video games in a row, I might like to say sure, as a result of I really like the larger lineup, however I are likely to suppose it will be used extra situationally for a pair causes.
Going huge to match up with an opponent’s frontcourt is one factor, and clearly that is what Arkansas has needed to do the final two video games, however simply taking part in two bigs constantly is one other. You have to take a look at completely different ranges of versatility, capability to area, match, and so on.
Personally, I’ve been a fan of the Mitchell twins taking part in collectively. Offensively, they appeared to work properly in tandem and even ran some four-out units with them alternating who was on the perimeter and who was within the submit. It appeared as if the offense was shifting the ball higher and the spacing was higher with them on the courtroom.
However, defensively it did not work out too properly. Granted, it wasn’t strictly on the twins, as a result of perimeter defenders have been permitting straight line drives all sport, however the assist aspect was missing for essentially the most half. The twins are glorious submit defenders in man conditions, however have gotten to determine the assistance aspect side.
As lengthy as Musselman continues to tinker and determine a rotation and lineup that works, I feel we’ll see one or two extra lineup variations earlier than locking into one thing “commonplace”. I do not actually see that being the 2 huge lineup, however would count on to see it once more towards larger groups.
Do you see Arkansas getting again on monitor like they’ve every of the previous two years? – Twitter person @HHeaven2021
I say that primarily due to the previous two years, but in addition as a result of even with out Brazile and Smith, that is essentially the most proficient roster Musselman has had at Arkansas. He simply wants to determine find out how to alter after dropping the 2 focal factors of the offense, which, clearly isn’t any small activity.
Outside of that, this workforce is made up of winners. These gamers are accustomed to profitable video games from their days in highschool, on the circuit in the summertime, even earlier faculty stops. I feel the gamers are additionally going to take it personally to attempt to determine what is going on incorrect and step as much as get again on monitor.
That’s at all times simpler mentioned than performed, although. Players can put in additional effort and time on their very own and coaches can attempt to scheme up new issues and alter rotations, however generally issues simply do not work.
We know Musselman will preserve altering issues and dealing on issues, however I feel the overarching query and what Razorback followers will see by the tip of the season: is that this workforce constructed to be good offensively? Before the accidents, completely, however with two star gamers out everybody might be discovering out because the season goes on if this workforce could be a good offensive workforce.
Until the Vanderbilt sport, the protection hadn’t been a problem. This sluggish begin to convention play would not really feel as unhealthy as earlier years outdoors of Saturday’s loss, however giving up a ten-point result in find yourself dropping by 13 was unhealthy.
Two losses have been to ranked opponents and two have been on the street. They have been within the sport towards Alabama for 36 minutes and have been inside three towards LSU. The collapse towards Vanderbilt is puzzling, too, particularly contemplating the actual fact Arkansas scored 84 factors in a loss. That’s the third highest level whole in a loss underneath Musselman and second highest in convention play.
My considering is that the defensive lapse towards Vanderbilt was a one-off prevalence the place perimeter defenders constantly bought beat and assist aspect defenders have been absent. Knowing Musselman’s monitor file of being an awesome defensive coach, these issues ought to get corrected come what may.
The rotation nonetheless is not finalized, and the workforce is trying to find consistency, management, and energy. Arkansas followers have appear comparable stretches the previous two years that led to profitable seasons. While I do not suppose the season is misplaced, I do suppose that with the present make-up of this roster the ceiling is lowered, however getting again on monitor and making the NCAA Tournament is definitely inside attain.
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