Is this the end? It kind of feels like the end.
Coming off Saturday’s devastating loss to Missouri, Arkansas took a series of punches immediately in the game from Vanderbilt in the form of seven threes in about the first seven minutes, and the Razorbacks were knocked out.
The game was never close. Some fans left even before halftime. Dusty Hannahs tried to trigger another late game comeback like he did in Nashville last month, but it was too late. Hannahs ended with 24 points. Moses Kingsley scored 11 points and took 6 rebounds. It’s hard to find anything else noteworthy in the box score.
It’s not that Vanderbilt was obscenely hot and scored a ton of points. They only scored 72 points. That should be a number Arkansas would have a chance to win against. But Arkansas only scored 59 points, just 18 in the first half, their worst output of the season.
At this point, the question for most people is likely about the future of the program and Mike Anderson’s job status. If Arkansas doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament - and yes I’m still saying if, even though I will acknowledge it’s a really, really long shot at this point - the only real argument to keep Anderson is the roster of commitments and signees already in the bag. That’s it. And that’s not a strong case.
This is a roster filled with juniors and seniors playing at least 80% of the minutes. Yes, many of the freshmen are highly rated and there’s reason to expect they’ll be good, but they’re unlikely to be great immediately. None are rated as highly as Bobby Portis was, and it took Portis a while to come into his own. And it’s not like there aren’t talented, highly-rated players on this team right now. So if anyone is skeptical at the moment they’re justified.
We should note that the season isn’t over. I don’t know how far Arkansas’ RPI will fall, but there’s still a month left in the regular season. While it’s hard to imagine the team that lost ugly these last two games will take advantage of it, it’s still out there.
But there’s no doubt many in the fanbase have understandably lost faith. If this continues, the question becomes whether or not Jeff Long has.