Editor's Note: The following is a guest post by Jethro, who has made a grand total of one comment on our blog. But with that one post, he struck us as someone who has a keen basketball eye. Quality, not quantity. With much of our staff busy with the real world this week, Jethro was kind enough to help us keep the blog active by sharing his thoughts on the basketball season so far. Many thanks to him. Enjoy.
OK - time to get realistic about this year's Razorback basketball team. The time to get worked up about March Madness will be 13 months from now.
Which doesn't mean it's time for black crepe and a wreath on the door.
However, what the Tennessee game made clear is that the Hogs inside game is one guy: Washington. And he's a shooter and rebounder, not particularly a banger. Without Monk, they're badly lacking in that area. In the paint, it was the boys against the men last night. Literally.
Sanchez is like a St. Bernard puppy in there. He's gone from being over-aggressive to confused. Henry's got a lot of ability and drive, but appears not to have played forward a lot. There was very little blocking out last night, allowing the Vols to play volleyball off the offensive boards late in the second half. When they started pounding it inside, the Hogs had no answer.
The guards? Clearly there's room for one undersized guard on the perimeter, especially if his name's Fortson. But two? Without a consistent inside game, where are the points going to come from? Not Clarke, evidently, who appears to get gun shy after he misses a couple. Welsh played hard and well, but still forces shots sometimes. Marcus Britt is a steady hand, but not a scorer.
Hogs wouldn't have had a chance without Fortson's drives to the basket, but when the point guard's got the ball that much, the rest of the offense tends to quit working.
But here's the deal: They haven't quit on themselves, their heads are still up, they reflect Coach Pelphrey's zeal and intensity. They came up a bucket short, but they never quit playing hard. If the fans don't quit on them, and they don't start bickering among themselves, I still think they'll win 4 or 5 of their remaining SEC games. They could make a run in the SEC tournament. One good thing about young kids? They bounce back.
This time last year, a bunch of them were in high school.
This time next year, we'll all be worried about a decent NCAA seed.