Back on the Pig Trail, talking hoops with our hoops insider Kevin McPherson
he is from Hogville.Net.
Back to the game Thursday, second round facing Florida,
impressions of that game and obviously Arkansas got crushed on the boards.
That was the biggest impression. Florida
is the worst rebounding team in the league, Arkansas right behind them in 13th, and Florida
dominated them. Plus 15 on the boards, plus 16 in second chance points and then they won the turnover game, and that’s where Arkansas likes to compensate when they have a poor rebounding team is create possessions and get stops and they were minus one in turnovers.
I just thought the Gators’ experience showed. Arkansas tried to dictate pace early, getting an eight point lead. Then in the last thirty minutes,
Florida slowed the game down, played their game and Arkansas really struggled in half court offense. Wasn’t just the glass, Arkansas
could not control tempo, and really that game Drew was a microcosm of the season. If you go back to when the schedule came out
in late August, I predicted and put my projections out early. Just look at what I said, I had them at 17-14 and 8-10 in SEC Play to close the regular season, with a ceiling of 18 and 13 overall and maybe nine and nine in conference, maybe on the bubble for the Big Dance.
That is how it played out and I think what got fans with high expectations was that 6-1 start. Arkansas opened on a neutral site
and lost to Texas in OT. They beat Indiana in a thrilling game at a time when IU had a good resume’ out of the gates hot. I think
all of us based on that six and one start thought Arkansas would have a better season than the preseason projections.
SEC a whole different animal before Arkansas got there, losses to WKU and GA Tech on their home court. They showed
that this Arkansas team would struggle all season long and if you go back to it, they had 18 games that were one or two possession
margins and they were inside the final two minutes. Arkansas went eight and ten in those games, some of those they could’ve won and some
they could’ve lost. A lot of it as poor free throw shooting. This was the worst free throw shooting team in the SEC throughout the season, but a lot of it was there trouble on the glass. I thought their transition defense wasn’t very good for much of the season.
Their three point defense was good for two thirds of the season, but the other third it really cost them in some games.
When you look back at the roller coasters of a four game losing streak in SEC Play, then a four game winning streak.
Then on to a six game losing streak. Then they finished the season with some hope. Two of their best four wins of the season
took place in that final three game stretch. They beat Ole Miss and Bama. Going into the Conference Tourney there was still some hope and maybe a flicker,
that they might make the NCAA Tournament with an at large bid without having to win the conference tourney. That didn’t happen, got beat in the first game. Daniel Gafford will leave for the NBA but Isaiah Joe is one of the best freshmen in the country, one of the best players in the SEC, maybe. He finished number one in the league in three point shooting. Number one in makes and percentage, Reggie Chaney, Mason Jones,
Desi Sills, even Jalen Harris if he can improve on his perimeter shooting. There are some positives they can build from. Arkansas actually
played well away from home. Didn’t always get the finishes they wanted, but I think this team has stuff to build on going forward down the road Drew.
Kevin about 1:30 left, recruiting now, Shawn Stith, has an offer from Arkansas, he is from Saddleback.
He will visit March 29th through the 31st, will make the trip with his mom and his brother, told me he is very excited about the trip. Other
schools showing interest, has a host of offers from pacific coast colleges but I think Arkansas is in the driver’s seat.
I asked him, is there a chance you would commit, he said he’s not sure. Any time you bring your family and you have an offer
and it’s for a visit, it’s this late in the process, close to signing period in April, I think the Hogs have a great shot with this kid.
Big body, can play inside and out, co player of the year in his JUCO Conference, a guy to keep an eye on.
If you are into rankings, this kid Moses Moody, ESPN Five Star, was in The Rock recently to work out.
Got to watch him work out, later tonight, you’ll see some of that as I’ll tweet that out. I’ve got his measurables, a little while ago,
he’s gotten bigger since the last time he helped North Little Rock to a state title, he’s at Montverde Academy, he’ll be playing
in the Geico National Tourney. It starts in April. He was working out in Arkansas. Arkansas he said is one of the schools
that recruits him hard and talks to him a lot, and he stays a lot. A lot of high major offers, I know Duke is inquiring,
another blueblood has reached out, I won’t say which one right now. Gonna keep an eye on Moses, but an outstanding prospect,
and definitely worthy of that status from ESPN.
Great stuff as always from our hoops insider Kevin Mcpherson, more from him in the upcoming days and long term, Jailyn Mason
in for a sit down conversation after Arkansas Women’s Hoops made a run to the SEC Final.
That is with Alyssa Orange