This is a tough game to assess.
We shot the way we typically shoot, we played the way we typically play, and we generally kept the eight guys we trust involved in the game for the full 40 minutes. And Arkansas... they didn’t exactly punch above their weight, either. They shot below their season averages (both 3PT and FT), and we handled their defensive pressure with little fuss.
And yet, when you add all of these things together, we couldn’t get it done. At home. Against a team projected to finish in the middle of the pack.
We didn’t learn anything new yesterday, y’all. We just confirmed what we are. And when you consider our upcoming schedule, that might be the scariest possible outcome.
The Shooting Woes Continue
We were 1-9 from beyond the arc in the first half, and 5-24 for the game. We aren’t going to win many games doing that, which makes our continued insistence on doing exactly that all the more problematic.
To make matters worse, there were some really good looks mixed into those 24 shots. We handled Arkansas’ defensive pressure well and we consistently found our shooters in open space.
They just weren’t hitting.
Flagg played his best game of the year
Kudos to Savion Flagg for a spectacular effort.
Flagg had 20 points and 15 rebounds on 8-11 shooting, all while playing 36 greuling defensive minutes. Any competitive version of this squad simply has to include Savion playing at (or near) this level, and he brought it yesterday.
Honorable mention goes to TJ Starks for a great 17-point second half that allowed us to claw back into the game late.
I fear we’re in trouble.
I don’t know if I’m explaining this correctly, but I’ll try: I almost wish we had lost more definitively. With better reasons. In that world, I could set up a straw man, pitch some type of fix, and hope to knock it down via a future performance.
But here… there’s no magic bullet. We played about how I expected us to play, Arkansas played a little worse than I expected them to play, and they were (mostly) comfortably ahead down the stretch.
We might be in for a rough January, y’all. Aside from the home game against Missouri, I don’t see much hope in our next eight games.
- At Kentucky (0-1 and desperate to not start their SEC season 0-2)
- At Alabama (the team that just beat Kentucky at home)
- Auburn (will contend for the SEC title)
- Missouri (hey! Maybe this one!)
- At Florida (nope)
- Kansas State (the first of three home games where we are clearly the worst team)
- LSU (yup)
- Tennessee (yuppppp)
If y’all see success in that list, I envy your outlook on life.
Next up is Kentucky at Rupp Arena. When we have talented teams, we’ve done some amazing things there. When we don’t….. we, uh, don’t.