College basketball is a funny thing. It’s extremely volatile and if you’re not ready, things can change in a heartbeat. Arkansas went from beating UConn by 35 to a 91-65 loss to Houston their next time out. How did this happen? The Cougars beat the Hogs to the punch in nearly every aspect of the game. A slow start doomed the Hogs and a hot shooting night from Houston make the final score what it was.
The Hogs started the game 0/9 from the field, looking lethargic and like they could coast in this game. Houston had a stretch early in the first half where hit four straight threes and jumped out to a quick 29-14 lead. It was clear the momentum started with the Cougars and never left them. The Hogs never got within 15 in the second half. It was a poor night for both Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford, who combined to shoot 6/21. When they’re combining for that it’s always going to be a tough day.
Kelvin Sampson says this could be his best team after coming off back to back NIT appearances, and they showed why he thinks that in this game. The AAC is a deep conference this year and the third best team behind Wichita State and Cincinnati is really up for grabs. The Cougars made their case for that spot tonight.
It’s very clear that the Hogs didn’t play to their standards and this is a really frustrating loss. With that being said, its not an indication of how the season will go. You know that old coaches cliche of don’t let your highs get to high or your lows get too low? Yeah that applies in these past two games. Don’t expect the greatness of the UConn game to happen consistently, and don’t expect this horrific loss to stick.
If anything this is a teaching moment for Mike Anderson, and one his is pretty familiar with making. Arkansas teams have had a habit of making head scratching losses in late November and early December. Like Minnesota last year, or Iowa State and Clemson in 2015. Those seasons turned out just fine.
Point is, it’s a long season and you’re going to put up some duds. The Hogs put up a big fat one in Houston, and I’d expect them to learn from it.