It’s not the end of the world. The sun came up this morning. It may have been covered by fog and the shame of losing another SEC road game, but it still came up.
Yes, the last time Arkansas won their SEC road opener it was John Pelphrey's first season. It seems like a decade ago. It was going to take a while to cover the hole the program dug over the nine years between Nolan’s firing and Mike’s hiring. I’m not saying Mike should get nine years to fix the mess, but he should at least get the four Pelphrey had or the five Heath received. I promise I’m trying to help you when I write, "don’t be that guy who is screaming for a coach to be fired in the middle of year three."
I can’t believe I’m even addressing that, but just don’t be that guy. I know it’s a free country and people are entitled to their opinion, but you aren’t helping anything screaming for ANY coach to be fired in the middle of year three.
It may feel like the season is over, but it’s not. Arkansas only dropped six spots in the ESPN RPI Rankings, falling from 55 to 61. The Hogs aren’t out of it yet. Last night could have been worse. Missouri lost to Georgia at home.
I’m not trying to pump sunshine into the fan base. My first column ever on this site tried to brace you for the NIT. I was not one of the people who said that this was Arkansas’ guaranteed year to make it back to the tournament. However, it doesn’t mean that the Hogs are out of it. I don’t have a long grocery list of problems with what happened last night, but I do have a few.
Why did Rickey Scott start, play three minutes, and then disappear to the bench? What was the point of that? Why not just start Qualls or Harris and get them going early?
I think it’s time to shorten up the rotation from 12 to 10. Guys have to be in the game long enough to get into the rhythm and flow. It’s time to pick either Jacorey Williams or Moses Kingsley off the bench at forward and either Kikko Haydar, Mardracus Wade, or Rickey Scott as the last backup guard off the bench. The trio of Haydar, Wade, and Scott combined for 19 minutes, 0 points on 0-2 shooting, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist. Let one of those guys have those minutes and get into a rhythm. Maybe that way, more production can come from those minutes. That’s not to single those guys out, because almost everyone had the worst game of their career last night.
Everyone who wrote/tweeted/said that the non-conference schedule didn’t adequately prepare this team to go on the road and win, on the count of three let’s all say, "I told you so."
1… 2… 3… "I told you so!"
Now, Arkansas is still listed as a bubble team in Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology projections (albeit now on the outside), so there's still plenty to play for. Let’s move on from that and move on to the Florida and Kentucky games.