I could start this with a ton of flowery language, but the best writing is concise and direct. So here it is: this Arkansas basketball team can’t shoot, man.
At least not from deep, anyway. The Razorbacks were an adequate 4-10 against North Dakota State and an awful 2-16 against Fordham. The shooting forms are janky, and the guys lack confidence. That’s a paltry 23 percent from three-point range through two games.
The question right now worth debating isn’t if this is a good shooting team (right now, it’s clearly not). Instead, the question worth debating is whether the shooting woes will hurt Arkansas basketball as competition ramps up.
Arkansas basketball is struggling from deep, but those struggles can be overcome in other ways.
Before we go much deeper, let’s address a couple of things. First, getting a healthy Nick Smith Jr back should ideally help this team stretch the floor. (Though, he also did not shoot it well from long distance in the exhibition games.)
Second, last year’s team couldn’t shoot that well from three-point range, either. Last year, Arkansas basketball shot 30 percent from three on just over 20 attempts per game. The year prior, they shot 33 percent on similar attempts.
Both of those teams went to the Elite Eight. So what are you worried about, Max?
A) In terms of three-point shooting, 30 and 33 percent are a world away from 23. B) Each of those teams had at least one dude who shot in the neighborhood of 40 percent on a decent volume for the season.
Through the first two games, Trevon Brazile and Ricky Council IV both shoot north of 37 percent from deep, but I’m not buying that shot from them long-term. Both of their career percentages are closer to 34.
Anthony Black is 3-9 through two games. Devo Davis is 0-5.
Fordham outlined a decent blueprint for beating Arkansas basketball. They just packed it in on defense. They dared the Razorbacks to shoot almost every time they touched the ball. That would have been a different ball game if Fordham had not turned the ball over 30 times last night (credit to the Razorbacks for forcing those turnovers).
Arkansas basketball could be in trouble if teams like Baylor or Kentucky wall of the paint against the Razorbacks.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. This team knows who they are. Per Shot Quality, Arkansas basketball is 333rd in three-point frequency in this young college basketball season.
Head coach Eric Musselman knows his team. If Arkansas basketball can force turnovers, get in transition, and relentlessly attack the rim, they can be successful even if their shots aren’t falling from deep.