September 19, 2014

Arkansas 79, Robert Morris 74

ESPN.com: Arkansas 79, Robert Morris 74

Hunter Mickelson scored 14 of his career-high 16 points after halftime, helping Arkansas to a 79-74 win over Robert Morris on Thursday night.

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  • Jim Dogg

    The Razorbacks like to trap alot. They set the backcourt traps very well but don’t close the deal. One of the things they don’t do well is to recognize the passing lanes to the outlet player (or so it seemed). My past experience, limited as it was, told me that certain players, not many, have a sixth sense of where the ball is going. You try to teach that but it’s remarkable how many players don’t get it. No matter how intelligent they otherwise are. The Hogs do a very good job of covering up the ball handler on the in bounds pass but if you don’t cheat on the passing lane a bit you don’t get a jump on the pass to intercept. What I see, and I can’t see the whole court, is that the defender on the obvious outlet was being played too far off which makes the press easy to break. The defenders on the ball have to cover up the player (and the Hogs do that well enough) so that he has only two choices: throw into the obvious passing lane or a lob pass down court that can be anybody’s ball. It sounds easy enough but it requires awareness, which some players lacking it try to use atheletic ability to compensate. In order to overcome successful traps one must usually bring up the center to receive the inbounds pass but this disrupts any quick offensive set. It also helps that the player receiving the ball understands to try to stay away from the third defender, the out of bounds line (the perfect traps are to get the ball handler in the corner at the backline or the coffin corner near half court both which further limits his options – except to call a time out). I think that RM’s Coach Toole is going to be working with his team on staying out of half court traps.

    Haydar seems to be a player that thinks his way through a game and can anticipate. His cheating to get an advantage does get him out of position at times but it’s more likely he can disrupt offenses with his aggressiveness. (I use to teach players to look first at your area of responsibility and then to the ball handler’s eyes to predict where the pass was going. Then cheat into the passing lane.) Against very good players this doesn’t work as well. I would recommend to youngsters Pete Maravich’s marvelous video on the no look pass.- but it’s easier to master the techniques than to pull off – I think that’s what Haydar used to feed Powell underneath the basket in the Alcorn game. It requires your hand and eyes to go one way but your wrists to go the other.

    But Anderson may be way ahead of me (and the announcer who also noted the failure to finish off the trap) in that the playing too far off the relief passing lane was deliberate so as not to let future opponents prepare for it. Even a tipped ball by the defenders was still recovered by RM. I’m guessing but I think the reasons that the Hogs were trapping so much was (1) RM’s front court was not that effective after breaking the trap and (2) To disrupt and tire RM’s three point shooters. It apparently worked. However, if Arkansas had hit its free throws and closed some of those traps this would have been a 20 point differential. We’ll see if the Hogs improve in these areas. Arkansas’ ability to pressure defend the whole game with many players is still their best weapon. It certainly isn’t 3 pointers or clutch free throws. I was impressed with the Hogs pressure on the Colonials three point shooters except when the defenders lost concentration. RM lives and dies by the 3 and free throws but it wasn’t enough to win. Arkansas’ inside game was strong enough to carry them to the finish (good idea to lob the ball to Mikelson, but for gosh sakes know when and how to do it; get to practicing it some).

  • GonzoHog

    This team has little chemistry. That is what stands out the most to me. Could have a lot to do with experience, but when I watch experienced guys like Marshawn Powell from game to game, I am left with a very unimpressed feeling in the end. Just my opinion.