Get To Know The Arkansas Opponents – Gardner-Webb
I wanted to do something a little different this year. So we will spend a lot of time over the next month deep diving into the non-conference opponents.
Now I could do my own research and give you all insight behind these teams….or we can bring in the real experts! So for a lot of these deep dives, I’ll interview Sean Paul. Sean is behind the MakingTheMadness podcast and writes for Mountain West Wire. If you are familiar with Sean then you know this guy has the biggest brain in college hoops. The guy knows every single thing about every single division 1 team. It’s impressive. Does he ever sleep? My guess is no. Seriously, you need to follow him. His @ on Twitter is @Sean02MTM
Next up is Gardner-Webb! I was surprised to see that Gardner-Webb has 7 seasons of .500 or better in the last 9 years. That has only yielded 1 trip to the NCAA Tournament, but that consistency is pretty good for that level and conference.
Team: Gardner-Webb Bulldogs
Location: Boiling Springs, North Carolina
History: 19 Seasons in Division 1 Basketball and 1 NCAA Tournament Appearance
Conference: Big South
2020-21 Record: 11-15(5th in the Big South)
Head Coach: Tim Craft
Departures: Jaheam Cornwell(14.1ppg), Jacob Falko(9.8ppg), Jamaine Mann(6.8ppg), and Mick Lynott(0.9ppg).
Ben: I’ll be honest…I didn’t realize that Gardner-Webb had so many winning seasons over the last decade. It hasn’t resulted in a lot of NCAA Tournament appearances, but they have been steady. Talk about the job Tim Craft has done:
Sean: Tim Craft has been able to win a lot of games for sure. The biggest sign of his coaching to me is after losing David Efianayi following their tournament appearance in 2018-19, the Bulldogs still churned out positive seasons.
Ben: What style basketball will Arkansas fans see from Gardner-Webb?
Sean: They’ve finished outside the top-245 in defensive efficiency in KenPom’s rankings the past three seasons. It could be a game where Arkansas focuses on scoring inside. Maybe a Connor Vanover type of game with the lack of size.
Ben: The Bulldogs 3 returning scorers are all snipers from 3. Can those 3 (Lance Terry, D’Maurian Williams, and Jordan Sears) make up for the significant losses of Jaheam Cornwell and Jacob Falko?
Sean: Those two are certainly big losses, but potentially, the highest upside player no longer on the roster is Jamaine Mann who joined the SEC with Vandy. D’Maurian Williams is the star of the future for the Bulldogs in coming years.
Ben: Last year’s team was very young and they struggled. This season the Bulldogs now have experience. How do you project this Gardner-Webb team to finish in the Big South?
Sean: It’s a clear top three in the Big South with Winthrop, UNC Asheville & Campbell. Then it’s newcomer NC A&T behind the three with GW coming in sixth behind Longwood.
As always, thanks for reading!
For all things Arkansas Basketball, give me a follow on Twitter @BenBrandonHoops