Razorbackers.com’s editor in chief, Cory Thone, makes a plea for Arkansas Razorbacks fans to make the shift from football mode to basketball mode, because the Arkansas basketball team is actually really entertaining.
Why weren’t you watching the Arkansas basketball game last night? Huh? You were home. You knew it was on. In fact, you probably tweeted something about it. Despite the “WPS” in your twitter handle, though, you chose to watch your 7th episode of Chopped last night instead of watching the Arkansas Razorbacks beat the dog crap out of Missouri IN COLUMBIA.
Now look, before you start yelling at me about the decline in play from last year or the lack of big time recruiting, let me just stop you. This isn’t what that article is about, so save it. I’ve wrote numerous times about my frustrations with Mike Anderson’s recruiting, and his in-game substitutions. This isn’t the time for that. I’m trying to convince you, fellow Hog fan, that you need to start watching Arkansas basketball. Because you’re missing out on some great stuff.
First off, and this is the big one, FOOTBALL SEASON IS OVER. Time to move on. Here at Razorbackers, we’ll keep covering recruiting and Hogs football news as news comes out. But for you fans, it’s definitely time to move on. Arkansas basketball is a tradition, dammit! How can you be so passive about it? We’re coming off a 27-9 season, and we’ve got 3 All-Americans signed for next year. There shouldn’t be such a lull in interest!
I know it’s hard moving from football to basketball, especially after a season that had us win 7 of our last 8 games. Football is awesome! Not going to hear me argue otherwise. But it’s time for the three man weave, pep bands, and slam dunks. So get hype!
Secondly, this Arkansas Razorbacks team is not as bad as A) you think or B) their record shows. The Hogs have a 9-7 overall record. Of those 7 losses, 6 have been by 10 points or less, and 2 of them were in overtime. The Hogs were this close to wins over Stanford, Mercer, Dayton, and Wake Forest. What a difference those few points would have made in perception of this team.
While we can’t go back and replay those games, it appears that this Arkansas basketball team is learning from their mistakes, as they have become one of the most explosive offenses in the nation these past few weeks. Just look at senior shooting guard Anthlon Bell, who was just named the SEC player of the week. He’s tied for 20th in the nation in 3 pointers made and is also tied for 20th in 3 point percentage.
Transfer shooting guard Dusty Hannahs is having himself a breakout season as well. The Little Rock native is 11th in the NATION in 3 point percentage, and has already scored more points in 16 games for the Hogs than he did in either of his two complete seasons for Texas Tech.
And how about Moses Kingsley! Talk about a breakout season! The junior post is 14th in the nation in blocks, 16th in blocks per game, and 16th in player efficiency rating. He is averaging 17 points and 9.5 rebounds a game. In fact, Kingsley, Hannahs, and Bell are 3 of the top 10 highest scorers in the SEC right now.
One of the biggest contributing factors to the offensive success of this team has been the dynamic play of senior point guard Jabril Durham. Durham is 5th in the nation in overall assists, 4th in assists per game, 9th in assists percentage, AND is tied for 16th in the nation for overall steals. He is playing lights out, and his ability to find Bell, Hannahs, and Kingsley at the right times has made all the difference for the Hogs this year.
Add all that together with a young but talented bench, led by Anton Beard and Jimmy Whitt, and you have an Arkansas Basketball team that is dangerous to play and fun to watch.
Finally, you should be watching this team play because they’ve earned your fandom. All of these kids could have (and some did) choose to play ball somewhere else, but they’ve decided to rock the Cardinal & White. This team has already gone through more heartbreak in close losses than most teams will expierence in a season. And how did they handle it? By starting conference play with a 3 game win streak, and by breaking records for shooting percentages.
Yes, I know I’m writing this before the Hogs take on an LSU team that is probably NCAA tournament bound. It’s going to be pretty hard for the Razorbacks to slow down the Ben Simmons led Tigers. So yeah, I may be setting myself up for a fall right now. But win or lose this weekend, I’ll be watching this team play.
And so should you.