It's been too long since we've heard from one of our favorite commenters, Tab Prewett, who provided heroic work with his pre- and post-game analysis for the LSU football game and the Cotton Bowl, which can be found here, here, here and here. Below, Tab gives us his thoughts on the basketball team, from both before and after Wednesday's victory over LSU.
Feb. 20, 2008 - Tonight we play LSU, but I have no enthusiasm. Why? It’s February, and the gray skies linger, and March Madness is several weeks away. And the Razorbacks have lost two in a row.
Honestly, I have little faith in this basketball team. Visions of championship banners are immediately blackened by noncompetitive losses. I still see Hill unable to score, Beverley in the midst of a sophomore slump, Thomas trying to recover from his suspension and Pelphrey in need of guards to press more. Road games loom as insurmountable obstacles.
Yes, this basketball team can be dominating, exciting and inspiring. Then within 10minutes, they will play uninspired and insipid basketball, putting to sleep the most rabid Razorback homer.
I’m at the point where my interest level is as low as it was in the days of Heath. Yesterday, I found an old T-shirt in the closet, emblazoned with "SEC Champions 2000, Arkansas Razorbacks," and I realized how long ago that was. Even by then, it had been six years since we beat Duke for the NCAA championship. And it struck me that, as the years pass and our victories grow less and less significant, I find myself spending my winters forsaking Razorback basketball for other endeavors. Life is too short to be upset because Tennessee annihilates us or Miss. State survives us. At a certain point mediocrity does set in, and mediocrity begets boredom, which begets empty seats. Instead of devoting myself to ESPN GamePlan for every minute of every Hawg game, I schedule a ski vacation in Lake Tahoe.
Yes, Pelphrey has us a few victories above last year’s pace, and nobody would judge him yet. In fact, this year is more a reflection of the players (particularly the six seniors) than the coach. I for one won’t cast aspersions at Pelphrey if we don’t at least win a first round NCAA game. I won’t be surprised if we lose to Colgate in the first round.
Tonight, we play LSU whose dangerous center is healthy again and should give Townes and Hill horrible dreams. Indeed, nightmares have been in the dreams of Razorback fans for far too long, and I’m sick and tired of it. I’m ready for Mr. Hyde and his unpredictability to vanish, and the real identity of Arkansas basketball to re-establish itself. Begone Hyde. Make way for Dr. Jekyll and a return to the success of 1994.
February 21, 2008 - Freud worked wonders last night. Jekyll sits cured. Did Pelphrey have Sigmund pay a visit to his men, because that was a serious pasting we put on LSU. This team simply defies analysis. I don’t know if they’re still ridding themselves of Demon Heath or they’re truly Sybil in a basketball uniform. What is clear is these guys are schizophrenic, and no one can predict which personality will appear from one game to the next.
I guess it is a positive that over the last seven games we’ve played only one bad game, and that was at No. 2 Tennessee. Of course, what is scary is the memory of what happened at Tennessee and also in the first half of Miss. State, not to mention South Carolina, Georgia and Appalachian State. None of us would dispute the ugliness of those games.
Even the comments of the players illustrate the schizoid nature of this team. The recurring motif of their postgame comments emphasized how dangerous they would be if they could all get together, get their games to click, bring it all into focus, as if they were a team of scattered souls blasted about Madison County. What is certain and maddening is that this team can be damned good and damned entertaining when they’re clicking.
But let’s be real. LSU has a 145 RPI. For us to be a Final Four Team, as LSU’s coach said we could be in his postgame summary, we’ve got to show all that talent - healed and whole and functioning as one - against stiff, difficult competition. Kentucky on the road, a highly ranked Vanderbilt at home - win those two games, and I’ll start believing that Freud is more than a quack, Pelphrey can perform psychoanalysis, the personalities of Sybil can be reunited, and Jekyll can really kill Mr. Hyde.
And I might even find a TV with ESPN GamePlan in Lake Tahoe.