January 18, 2019

If You Can’t Be Good…Be Fun To Watch

Moses Kingsley (Photo by USA Today)At the half way point in the Razorback Basketball season (2-1, 8-7), many fans have settled into this being ‘a down year’ for Mike Anderson’s bunch.  As evidenced though by their wild 82-68 win Saturday vs. Mississippi State, this team is incredibly fun to watch.

The rest of the way, will Hog fans embrace that ‘Fun to Watch’ mentality, or stew over being a middle of the pack team at best in the weak SEC again?

Given Arkansas’ basketball tradition, the majority of fans want to win, and when they see a team just barely over .500, they check out.  However there is a minority who enjoy just as much a team that is fun and entertaining to watch.  This 2015-16 version of the Razorbacks certainly fits into the ‘fun’ category.

No doubt, we can cuss and discuss at great length here how in year five of the Anderson regime we find ourselves once again short on talent.  Sure losing Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls to the pros hurt, but if you consider yourself a Top 20 program, you better be in reloading mode all the time.  Do Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Kentucky and Syracuse not lose players to the NBA every year?

Stockpiling of talent requires good recruiting, and we have not seen that yet from Mike Anderson’s staff.  The main recruiters on this staff, have been with Mike since he left Arkansas in 2002.  Their inability to hold key in-state recruits like Malik Monk and KeVaughn Allen (averaging 10.5 PPG at Florida) is troubling.  The in-state talent in the next three years looks outstanding…by the way.

Mike is not going to cut part of the ‘family’ loose, and it’s likely these guys are not going to be out getting head coaching gigs anytime soon.  So all we can do is hope for the best.

The newest member of the RBN crew SlobberHog penned a good post a few weeks ago around fans football expectations.  What about basketball?

My expectation is that we should be in the NCAA tournament every season.  The top 35 at-large teams get in each year.  If you fancy yourself as a Top 20 program, then you should be in the top 35 every year.  Every 2-3 years a trip to the Sweet 16 should be attainable.  And let’s say every 6-8 years a trip to the Final Four.

We are so far from that in year five that it is ridiculous.

Anyway, we digress…back to the regularly scheduled programming, and the point of this post.  This is a FUN team to watch.

Anthlon Bell (Photo by Ben Goff)Guards Anthon Bell (5-7 on 3s for 25 points Saturday) and Dusty Hannahs (8-13 on 3s for 26 points vs MSU) have incredible range and have been raining three’s of late.  Bell leads the SEC in 3-point FG percentage (57.7).  The Hogs lead the SEC in scoring per game (83.8).  Jabril Durham leads the SEC in assists (7.5 APG), and is second in steals per game (2.3).

Forward Moses Kingsley gets our nod as the most improved player in the SEC.  Moses is almost averaging a double-double (16.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG) to go along with 2.6 blocks per game to lead the SEC.

The thing that impresses us though is how this team shares the basketball.  Ranking second in the SEC in assists per game (18.3 APG), the Hogs had an incredible 23 ASSISTS Saturday vs. the Bulldogs ON JUST 28 BASKETS.  Wow.  Their 1.6 Assists-to-Turnover ratio leads the SEC.

So, if you can’t be good, be entertaining to watch, and that’s what this bunch of Hogs is.  For now we’ll have to settle for that.


  1. OwassoHog says:

    Interesting perspective, but had the coach been named Stan or John, I’m doubt that the chance of this “positive” post would be about the same as the record… POOR! Quite frankly, I’m not sure that we are seeing much difference at the end of the day between, Stan, John, or Mike. They all had positive and negative things happened under this “leadership”.

    So, are we any better off or are we still just treading water here? Cause all I’m see is the same old, same old… NEXT year will be our year! 🙁

  2. Hogwild28 says:

    I can see arguing Stan against Mike because Stan actually had a style that was effective. Pel was over his head.

  3. We are giving Bert lots of extra time based on the mess he inherited. Going into year four with little improvement he is deemed to be ‘ahead of schedule’.
    But, basketball is not football. Two players and some depth can make a basketball team as Portis and Qualls showed last year. Bobby’s improvement in the NBA shows you were we could have been this year.
    If Mike is making the Nutty mistake of thinking that assistants are hired to stay around then there will be a cost to that. At some point it will be a choice between the job and the assistants. Without success it always is.