It's hard to muster any favorable words for the beleaguered Razorbacks after their stay in New Orleans was quickly ended this afternoon by LSU at the SEC tournament.
Arkansas shot terribly, got slaughtered on the glass, and got virtually no offense from anyone other than BJ Young. You can take that sentence and just basically make it the overarching thesis for the final six weeks of the 2011-12 season.
LSU had four players who had at least seven rebounds; no Razorback had more than six boards. The Tigers also employed a balanced scoring attack with five players in double figures, while the Hogs had only one, that being Young (13 points). Arkansas shot 36 percent from the floor and clanked all of its long-range tries after halftime.
This was fitting punctuation for a season that went south once the calendar turned over to February. Arkansas's inability to play well on the road went from puzzling to downright crippling, and then it lost its swagger at home with three straight losses at Bud Walton Arena after a 17-0 start.
The cold, hard truth is that this team was rather fortunate to have flourished as it did early in the season. The Hogs put together some very nice stretches against Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Michigan, but those moments were fueled by boisterous home crowds and when the well ran dry, it ran dry fast. Arkansas followed the wins over MSU and Vandy with clunkers on the road, and very nearly lost the Michigan game on a last-second shot. Getting to 18 wins may have been a small miracle under the circumstances.