Bobby Portis – Arkansas' homegrown McDonald's All-American has been straight working dudes recently. Portis has made 15 of his last 17 shots from the floor (20-20 from 2-pt range) and is doing things a 6'10" forward shouldn't be doing, like playing passing lanes and running the floor like a guard. After a somewhat slow start to the season and an eye opening game vs California (which Portis likes to reference in press conferences), the freshman has played extremely well and even earned SEC Freshman of the Week for a second time. But how is he stacking up against the other elite newcomers this season? In a couple of metrics, Portis has better numbers than highly-regarded Joel Embiid of Kansas. You can see Moses Kingsley's numbers here as well.
Bielema's Recruiting Strategy – The differences in recruiting styles and strategy between Bobby Petrino and Bret Bielema have been well documented. Petrino was more of an offense first coach, while Bielema has been going after bigger, stronger and more physical players that will fit his "normal American football" style. And it's not just the sportswriters and fans that see Bielema changing the mentality at Arkansas. Recruits are taking note, also (i.e Brian Wallace).
SEC Hoops Optimism – Yeah, yeah, I know. Rhode Island beat LSU at home Saturday and South Carolina lost to SC-Upstate early in the season, but listen. There is reason to be excited for SEC basketball. For one, it'll be fun to see who catches #SECBasketballFever first. Secondly, it isn't as if the conference is suffering from a lack of solid teams. At last glance, the SEC has four teams in the top 25, and several teams that could be worthy of a tournament bid. I, for one, can't wait for conference play to begin. Step 1 for Arkansas getting back to relevance is Wednesday. Buckle up.
Qualls/Team Chemistry – It's safe to say we were all pleasantly surprised at the beginning of the season to see the success the team had scoring the basketball, seemingly not missing a beat with BJ Young and Marshawn Powell not around. And Michael Qualls was a major reason why, showing off an improved jumper to go with the same killer instinct around the rim. But for whatever reason, Qualls hasn't been in the starting lineup lately. He doesn't mind it, though, as he told Hawgs 247's Otis Kirk before Arkansas' non-conference finale vs UTSA.