Arkansas Starts Slow, Takes Down UCA with Key Performances

The Arkansas Razorbacks are now 6-0, continuing their win streak with an in-state win against the University of Central Arkansas.

This game did not start our pretty for our hogs, as there were a couple of times they looked sluggish and slow. The Arkansas Razorbacks were at one point down by ten, in a game they should have won by 40.

If Arkansas wants to compete at the highest levels and become a ranked team, they need to handle their business against the teams they should beat. That is precisely what they have done so far, starting this season at 6-0 with all six games being at home. The hog’s first road game was supposed to be at Tulsa, but it had to be canceled due to the pandemic.

A young and new team like this may struggle initially as they try to figure out who they are. It is safe to say this is a great defensive team with lots of length and will scrap and claw with the best of them. Arkansas is not yet a great offensive team, but they have shown great potential. Against the Bears, Arkansas had a few great performances to help lead the way to a win.

Arkansas Key Performances:

JD Notae, G

The sixth man for the hogs got it done once again, as he was a spark off the bench in all areas of the game. His 22 points lead all scorers, and he did it in an assortment of ways. From step-back threes to euro-steps, Notae was feeling himself against the Bears.

Another area of his game that looked much improved was his playmaking and IQ. He finished with six assists, but only because “hockey assist” is not statted in college basketball. Due to him getting three steals, Notae was one of the players who ran the fastbreak and hit his cutting teammates.

There have been games this season where Notae looked selfish with the ball at times. This game was not one of those, as his game looks to be meshing with his teammates.

Jalen Tate, G

In this game against UCA, Tate was maybe the best player on the floor. He is showing improvements and skills that fans were not sure he had. As another player who ran the fast break, Tate found his teammates and even had a nice lob pass to Smith. With his 11 assists, Tate shows improvement as a playmaker as well and not to mention zero turnovers on the game.

The impressive part of his passing was using his IQ in the pick and roll and finding the roll man wide open under the rim. He did that a few times with Vanover and Smith, as the Bears looked as if they did not know what a pick and roll was.

The really impressive thing from Tate’s game was his three-point shot falling and his confidence in taking them. Jalen Tate hit a few threes off the catch and a contested one that looked natural for him. Tate looks to be the real deal and will likely continue to grow with the team throughout the season.

Desi Sills, G

It felt as if Sills name was being called all night, especially offensively.

Sills had several finishes that were very impressive in this game, and a few that were “and ones.” Coach Musselman talked at the beginning of the season about wanting to improve their finishing around the rim. A few players like Sills and Smith took that personally and finished what feels like everything they put up.

Sills three-point shot also looks to be improving, as he is continuing to hit them consistently. He even had a deep three from nearly the logo, showing his game has improved.

Desi Sills also displayed his playmaking, with four assists on the day. However, Sills IQ is something that stood out in this win. He was constantly moving on offense with cuts and rotations, which I’m sure coach Muss is enjoying.

Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – NOVEMBER 28: Jalen Tate #11 of the Arkansas Razorbacks drives to the middle during a game against the North Texas Mean Green at Bud Walton Arena on November 28, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Mean Green 69-54. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)