Wednesday night probably can’t get here fast enough for Eric Musselman, who is now getting to see the Lunatic Fringe of Arkansas’ fan base in his second season.
Back-to-back blowout losses on the road tends to bring that out.
Not being a a basketball expert, even I can see SOMETHING is wrong … but don’t ask me for specifics because it would be a wild guess.
Of course the howling merry band of idiots doesn’t know, either. They think they do, but they don’t.
Musselman probably knows, but he hasn’t figured out how to fix it after a 90-59 loss to an Alabama team that made nearly as many three-pointers (15) as the Razorbacks attempted (17).
“I’m overly concerned,” a downcast Musselman said later.
Don’t look at the stats. As Musselman said Thursday, those are hollow numbers in blowouts like the Hogs have had the last three games (yes, that includes the win over Georgia).
To the casual observer, this team can’t score consistently, defend anything down low or provide any particular disruption when the opponent fires up a three-pointer.
That’s not what the players are being coached to do. I can say that without seeing a single second of a practice this season.
At some point, the players have to be accountable and this Razorback team may have reached that point.
“Leadership on the floor is something that’s very, very concerning,” Musselman said Saturday.
The biggest indicator is when he’s having to start taking timeouts primarily because nobody that’s on the floor either has to the know-how or guts to get teammates back on track.
“You can go back, whether it was prior to me coming to Arkansas or last year, I usually like guys to kind of play through the flow,” Musselman said. “We have some quick-hitters that we like to do when another team goes on a run.”
For whatever reason the last couple of games, nobody can seem to remember them during a game.
It too often looks like nobody on the floor wants to hold anybody else accountable. It often looks like a pouting problem when they can’t manage to get much offense going.
For whatever reason, Desi Sills has disappeared from being much of a factor lately. Against the Crimson Tide he made one more shot than a statue.
“He’s definitely struggling right now,” Musselman said.
This isn’t to pick on Sills. With the exception of freshman Moses Moody, nobody has done a whole lot this week.
“We’re just coming together and trying to make it through these couple tough games,” Moody said Saturday. “We’ve got to get through that, we’re going to learn from that and we’re going to build on it.”
That sounds like a cliché, but is probably about the only thing they can say.
The tricky part for Musselman is getting the players to believe in themselves.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt when you’re losing like we are that we definitely have some players that have lost some confidence and probably the team as a whole,” Musselman said. “The only thing I know is to continue to teach … try to build them up. That’s the only thing that you can do.”
The Lunatic Fringe doesn’t want to hear any of that, though. They’ve already declared this team is done. With a 10-4 record.
Hold off on the panic, though.
Check back after games with Auburn and Ole Miss in Bud Walton alternating with road games against Vanderbilt and Oklahoma State.
The guess is the record gets better with teams not as good as the last two the Hogs have played.