Arkansas Basketball Moving Up, But Are We Satisfied?

Nov 22, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks guard Daryl Macon (4) shoots in the first half against the Minnesota Gophers at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks guard Daryl Macon (4) shoots in the first half against the Minnesota Gophers at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Arkansas Basketball Team has moved to 8 – 1 on the young season. However, are we much improved, or are we riding the crest of a soft early season schedule?

Opinions – almost everyone has them. You have yours, I have mine, and Stephen A Smith’s is always right. So when it comes to something I am passionate about, I generally tend to be biased. And that is what scares me in this case. I am not sold on the current play that is being exhibited by the Arkansas Razorbacks Men’s Basketball Team.

Seeing North Florida’s Senior Guard Dallas Moore torch our defense last night was almost too much to bear. Watching our offense go the way of Stan Heath’s teams by opting to shoot the three against a zone when strategy would point to penetrating then dishing or pulling up for a short jumper was too frustrating. And having to tolerate… Yes, I said tolerate… our allowing the Ospreys hang in the game and stay within striking distance was more than any HOGS fan should have to burden instead of enjoying their Saturday night.

What is it about this team? Are we as good as our record states? Or are we benefiting off of an even easier early season schedule than we have had over the past few seasons? Yes, Houston is a good program, and we have moved up in the RPI. And, yes, our sole loss was to (what appears to be) a very talented Minnesota team. That single loss, by the way, was our ONLY road trip. This will also have been our lone venture out of Bud Walton arena until we travel to Tennessee after the New Year’s holiday on January 3rd.

Speaking of Bud Walton…

More from Razorbackers

The truth is, we seem to always struggle anytime we leave the friendly confines of “The Basketball Palace of Mid-America”.  And this season has shown that we are already on that path. More opinion is that we should have defeated the Golden Gophers no matter where the location. And even our play at home has been suspect. Outside of Austin Peay and Southern Illinois, none of the wins have been convincing. Furthermore, these less than stellar wins consist of some of the lesser known names in the NCAA including a 92 – 83 win over Fort Wayne, and a 71 – 67 “barn burner” over UT-Arlington. Is Division I basketball really filled with that much parody than anyone can beat anyone? The answer: NO!

More Opinions Follow… Along with Some Fan Bashing

Yes, we are playing cupcakes (a term which I despise) for the most part. And last season’s failures have some fans discouraged. However, where in the heck are we? Bud Walton used to be almost impossible to get into for hoards of fans. Now, it’s embarrassing to watch the arena sit about one-thirds full. I cannot help but think that recruits take notice, even early in the season. Meanwhile, even Southern Illinois Head Coach Barry Hinson expressed his feelings by calling out the lackluster Razorbacks faithful. Coach Hinson, I like you, yet I hope that you inspire your players more than you motivated HOGS fans to get back into 19,368 seats. For we have let you and our players down. Even for lesser competition, I do not think that two-thirds empty is cutting it nor representing what we as a program and fan base are all about.

Enter the SEC

The SEC season begins on December 29th when Florida makes the trip to Fayetteville. In the meanwhile, Arkansas will “host” the most beloved Texas Longhorns in a neutral site in Houston, Texas.  Shaka Smart’s team was supposed to be a test before the two remaining pre-SEC softies, however, his Longhorns squad started off hot yet have shown little fizzle losing 4 out of their last 6 games. It’s a shame that they cannot come back up to ‘The Hill’. In 2009, Texas came to town only to see Michael Washington seal the victory with an “and 1” dunk with 22.5 seconds remaining in the contest. My point? That was a packed house and one of (if not the) loudest games I have ever been to in my entire life. So much so that one could not hear the person in the seat next to them talking. It was RAZORBACKS Basketball.

Must Read - Arkansas Overcomes Dallas Moore and North Florida: Chris Jackson Breaks Down the Latest Razorbacks Victory

And that, my friends, is what we need again. We need that passion. We need that drive. Not just from the fans, but more importantly the players as well. We do not want to see another early run turn into a .500 season due to a shoddy SEC performance. We at Arkansas deserve better. We look good on paper in 2016 – 2017. Right now, I am not sold. Are you?