Preview: Mississippi Valley State @ Arkansas
Opponent: Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils
Date: November 25
Place: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: SEC Network +
College Basketball season is finally here and Arkansas opens up with an underwhelming opponent. I don’t mean any disrespect to MVSU, but that’s just the truth. The Delta Devils finished 3-27 last year and had a scoring margin of -21.4 per game. They played 30 games and 21 of them weren’t close.
Now I know that doesn’t exactly get your blood pumping for the start of the 2020-21 season, but that is where we are during this pandemic. Eric Musselman made it clear that the strategy was to play opponents close to home. MVSU fits that bill. Look at the entire schedule, you’ll see the staff accomplished that this year. It certainly doesn’t give any wiggle room for losses. Arkansas will need to go undefeated in non-conference play to bolster that resume’.
The Delta Devils:
Former NBA vet Lindsey Hunter is in year 2 with MVSU and his son, Caleb, is the only returner. Caleb averaged 15.7 points per game last year. Coach Hunter totally flipped this roster this offseason with 11 new players joining the squad. Many of them being JUCO transfers and some with D1 experience. They will bring college basketball experience that may lead to a better season in year 2 for Lindsey Hunter.
In 2 games against High-Major teams last year, MVSU was outscored by a combined 130 points. The Delta Devils also gave up over 100 on seven different games. For programs like MVSU, they have to play all road games in non-conference play in order to pay the bills.
For MVSU to keep this game respectable, the Delta Devils need to take care of the basketball and close the rebounding margin. MVSU finished dead last in the country last season in rebounds allowed They added more size this season after last year’s roster had an average height of 6-3.
If you are MVSU, keep it under 30 and build on that.
There are a few things that we need to see from Arkansas on Wednesday. We need to see better defense than was showcased in the Red/White game. Eric Musselman was not pleased in that performance. There were too many transition buckets. MVSU wants to push the ball. They want to shoot in the first 12 seconds of the shot clock. Getting back and finding their assignment will be imperative.
We need to see the chemistry build by taking care of the basketball and efficient offense. Turnovers were a problem at times for last year’s Arkansas squad. With so many new faces, turnovers could be an issue with this team. Control the ball and control the tempo.
We need to see the leaders play like leaders. Desi Sills, Justin Smith, Jalen Tate, and Vance Jackson all need to set the tone and set the example early and often.
We need to see what the freshmen can do. I won’t mince words here. Arkansas should win this game by 40. Because of that, all the freshmen will definitely their opportunities. I want to see Moses Moody do what he does and that is a play a versatile game. To see Moody effect the game on both ends. Devo Davis to take care of the ball and force turnovers. For KK Robinson to run the offense effectively and shoot well. For Jaylin Williams to hit the glass hard and draw fouls in the paint.