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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by hogfan6494, Dec 14, 2009.
Yeah they seem to play hard, decent rebounding. But damn do they miss a lot of point blank shots.
Yeah their only real value is defensively in the paint, and their effort and IQ has been blind dog tier the last few weeks. Hope they can turn it around
Saw pictures of the twins getting on the plane, so that’s a good sign
The number of missed layups and put backs by everyone has been quite the surprise to me
Dammit, that's cold.
was expecting the Hawgs to make a big run this year, just based off how good they looked last year. Really disappointing season. Seems like something is going on behind the scenes.
I think it’s just a flawed team. We are like 5th to last in 3 point shooting
Bro this is just what we do. The thing that’s going on is that we are cursed.
At least we aren’t an embarrassing disappointment in something
Finally, a sport that matters!
didn't look, what's it for?
Just guessing, but if the track and field account is tweeting it…. I’m thinking it’s track and field
it’s women’s T&F indoor
Looks like the men are going to win too. Triple jump gave them the title with only two events left.
I saw where Arkansas offered Kobe Branham out of Southside. I’m friends with his step mother and he’s a beast. I know he has offers from A&M and a bunch of other schools. 6’5 320 OL
no clue if this dude can call a defense but he can 100% recruit his balls off
Arkansas vs Illinois: 2 Hogs Emerge as Biggest Potential X-Factors
March 15, 2023
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics / Illinois Athletics
After winning just a single game at the SEC Tournament for a third straight year, Arkansas basketball will now try to replicate the success it enjoyed in the NCAA Tournament the last two years — though this year’s team carries a different feel into the event.
Unlike the two previous Elite Eight runs, the Razorbacks will not enter the Big Dance as an AP-ranked team and top-four seed. Instead, they stumbled to an 8 seed after a frustrating season that included losing six of their final 10 games.
Even with the disappointing final stretch, Arkansas did more than enough to solidify its place in the tournament – mainly by playing the top four teams in the SEC twice each, but also by compiling an impressive non-conference record. In fact, 17 of the 33 games the Hogs have played so far were against teams now in the NCAA Tournament.
“I haven’t done it (for) a long time, but in the eight years I’ve done it, it’s by far the most difficult schedule — not even close to any other year that I’ve been doing this,” Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman said. “And then you add in the injuries, I’m really proud of what our guys have (done), how they’ve stuck together.”
Fortunately for Arkansas basketball fans, the Razorbacks’ first matchup is against a 9 seed Illinois team that is also stumbling into the postseason, winning only four of its last 10 games, as well. The similarities between these teams doesn’t stop there, though.
Both teams struggle to shoot from long range, average nearly as many turnovers as assists and are ranked considerably higher in defensive efficiency than offensive efficiency. Below is a side-by-side comparison of just how similar these two teams are:
What to Expect from Illinois
The Fighting Illini are led by a pair of transfers who both played against Arkansas during its Elite Eight run in 2021: Terrance Shannon Jr. and Matthew Mayer.
Shannon is a 6-foot-6 senior transfer from Texas Tech. He averaged 11.0 points during his three years as a Red Raider before leading Illinois in scoring this year at 17.1 points per game to go along with 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals.
He was also a member of the Texas Tech team – led by Mac McClung – that missed a game-tying layup in the closing seconds against Arkansas in the Round of 32. Shannon scored a team-high 20 points in that game, including hitting 3-of-4 from long range. Expect a heavy dose of Davonte Davis attempting to deter Shannon on the perimeter.
“Terrence Shannon, he’s just so versatile,” Musselman said. “He’s a lefty. He can score at many different levels. He’s one of the best athletes in college basketball. He can attack the rim. He can beat people off the bounce. He’s an excellent transition player. He’s had a really, really good year for them.”
Mayer is a 6-foot-9 senior guard that transferred to Illinois from Baylor this season. He’s averaging 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 34% from long range. Mayer was a member of the Baylor team that eliminated Arkansas in the Elite Eight and eventually won the National Championship in 2021. He tallied 7 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals against the Hogs in that game. The length of Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh will more than likely be deployed against Mayer.
These two seniors have brought a certain level of experience to the Fighting Illini – especially Mayer with his Championship experience – though they’ve also both seen their fair share of struggles and inconsistencies throughout the season.
Shannon’s shooting splits drop drastically between wins (46% FG / 36% 3PT / 80% FT) and losses (40% / 26% / 77%) on the season. He’s also scored 20 or more points 10 times this season – the same number of times he’s scored 13 or fewer points – including a game with only 4 points against Penn State in December. Mayer has nearly twice as many games scoring 10 points or fewer (13 games) as he does scoring 20 points or more (7 games).
This is a streaky duo that could play their team out of a game entirely, or single-handedly eliminate an opponent – especially an opponent who struggles to score the way Arkansas does at times.
Coleman Hawkins – a 6-foot-10 junior – is Illinois’ leading rebounder, averaging 6.3, followed closely by Mayer and Dain Dainja (6-foot-9) at 5.5 rebounds per game each. Both Hawkins and Dainja will be threats on the offensive glass, averaging 2.1 and 2.0 offensive rebounds, respectively, and both score just under 10 points per game on efficient shooting. Dainja in particular is shooting nearly 64% from inside the arc.
The Mitchell twins had a rough stretch of games to end the regular season, averaging a combined 3.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks on 20% shooting in the final three games. Mercifully, Makhi Mitchell reasserted himself into the gameplan in the SEC Tournament, notching back-to-back double-digit scoring games and averaging 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks on his own while shooting 85% from the field and 83% from the charity stripe.
While Makhel didn’t see quite the same level of success, he also contributed 4 points against Texas A&M – his most since scoring 5 against Alabama two weeks prior – to go along with 2 rebounds and 2 blocks on perfect shooting. It will be vital for one or both of the Mitchell twins to be on their game in this matchup and any potential future matchups. If they can keep the Illini big men off the offensive glass, the Hogs should be in good shape to pull out a win in round one.
Other notable players averaging at least 14.5 minutes per game for Illinois this season:
Jayden Epps: 6-foot-3 | Fr. | 25.2 MPG, 9.7 PPG, 1.5 APG, 31% 3P
RJ Melendez: 6-foot-7 | Soph. | 21.3 MPG, 5.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 51% 2P
Ty Rodgers: 6-foot-6 | Fr. | 17.2 MPG, 3.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 51% FG
Sencire Harris: 6-foot-4 | Fr. | 14.6 MPG, 3.7 PPG, 32% 3P
What to Expect from Arkansas
The Razorbacks have proven that they’re capable of playing with the best teams in the nation – as evidenced by their big wins over teams like San Diego State, Kentucky and Texas A&M, as well as their narrow road losses to teams like Alabama and Baylor. They’ve also shown that they can be beaten by nearly any team as well, though, including losses to LSU and Vanderbilt – neither of which made the NCAA Tournament.
Their struggles have come in large part due to their inconsistency on offense. Early in the season, this could be attributed to losing two major offensive pieces in Trevon Brazile (ACL) and Nick Smith Jr (knee), but after an extended adjustment period and the return of Smith, the Hogs are out of time and excuses to figure things out offensively.
This issue has been amplified against elite defensive teams. Arkansas is only 4-8 when playing against teams in the top-35 in KenPom’s defensive efficiency ratings — Illinois ranks No. 32. The Hogs have averaged only 71.3 points per game on 44% FG and 28% 3PT shooting against such teams.
Smith and Black simply have to show up with at least average scoring performances. They both struggled with efficiency in the last game, combining to shoot 32% from the field, 30% from long range and 50% from the charity stripe. They still managed to tally 25 combined points, but missing as many shots as they did – along with a combined 7 turnovers – leaves the Hogs all but dead in the water against good teams. There’s little more to talk about if they both come out cold in this game, but even with good scoring nights from both, they’ll still need some help.
Devo Davis has done a tremendous job slowing down the opponent’s best perimeter player all season, but his scoring opportunities have tapered off since Smith returned to the lineup. Davis is actually shooting more efficiently beside Smith, but his shot attempts have dropped from roughly 12.4 through most of SEC play to 6.9 over his last seven games. In turn, his scoring has fallen from 14.1 points to 8.3 in the same timeframe.
This change wouldn’t be as noticeable if Ricky Council IV’s scoring hadn’t also taken a notable plunge in recent games. Despite being among the best scorers in the SEC this season, Council is averaging only 9.8 points on 28% FG and 22% 3P shooting over his last four games.
And, just like that, what once seemed like a sure thing is now a less predictable X-factor. If the Hogs want any chance at a tournament run, they’ll need the best version of Council to show up early and often.
What to Watch in Arkansas vs Illinois
It’s clear these two teams share a lot of similarities. They’re both ranked notably higher on the defensive side of the ball, usually spelling trouble for the Razorbacks. However, The Fighting Illini’s offensive struggles and gameplan could play into Arkansas’ favor even with their stellar defense thanks to one player in particular: Devo Davis.
Davis brings by far the most tournament experience to the Razorback roster. He’s played in eight NCAA Tournament games in two years – more than most collegiate players will play in their whole career.
Perhaps more importantly, he brings a level of intensity and attention to detail on the defensive side of the ball not often seen at the collegiate level.
He’s held opposing team’s leading scorers to below their averages such as Mac McClung at Texas Tech and Ben Shungu at Vermont. Illinois’ main offensive threat is Terrence Shannon, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard. With nearly a week of preparation, Davis will likely know Shannon’s moves inside and out.
“I watched (Illinois) quite a few times,” Davis said. “Especially Terrence Shannon. I like his game. I think he’s pretty good. We played against him when he was at Texas Tech. I’ve been watching them a little bit… His game has evolved. Overall, I think (Illinois) has a solid, solid team, for sure.”
Of course, the Illini have other scoring threats like Mayer and Hawkins, but removing Shannon from the equation could potentially discombobulate the entire Illinois offense – an offense that already struggles with consistency.
Aside from Davis’ potential to take over a game defensively is his incredible 180-degree turnaround as a 3-point shooter this season. After shooting below 23% for his first 76 career games, Davis is now shooting roughly 42% from long range over his last 18 games – including 57% from long range over his final three regular-season games.
Coming into the tournament with the most experience by far – as well as the ability to affect the game so drastically on both sides of the ball – Davis will likely be the X-factor in this first-round matchup.
Arkansas basketball is 0-5 all-time against Illinois, though it’s 34-8 all-time as the higher-seeded team in the NCAA Tournament, according to HogStats. The Razorbacks are also 1-1 as an 8-seed playing against a 9-seed, their lone win coming against Seton Hall before the infamous last-second collapse against eventual-champions North Carolina in the second round.
Now in their third consecutive NCAA Tournament, Davis will indeed flex his defensive muscles against the Fighting Illini, forcing Shannon to work for every point he scores. Smith and Black will lead the Hogs on the offensive side of the ball against yet another stout defense, and the other Hogs will provide just enough scoring to push the Razorbacks over the top.
Arkansas moves on to the second round for the third consecutive year, earning a likely matchup with the 1-seed Kansas Jayhawks.
How to Watch Arkansas vs Illinois in NCAA Tournament
Date: Thursday, March 16
Location: Wells Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa)
Tipoff Time/TV Schedule: 3:30 p.m. CT (TBS)
bertwing is rich. I can't imagine spending money on this team
Let’s get it boys
give them 40 minutes of hell
I hope it is for Illinois and not 40 mins of hell for razorback fans
now comes the scary part where the razorbacks dont know what to do with a lead
We usually wait until after halftime to blow a double digit lead
I love the NCAAT.
College football will never be able to match it, I don't care how many teams they add to the playoff.
Snith lmao throwing kamani down
I don't care who wins. I just want a good, clean, competitive 3 OT game :)
That seems more like 2nd round
Well at least we are consistent about it.
Lol of course
Down to 5 lickity split
Just survive their first run boys
Time's running out for us to collapse.
This fucking team
they tried their best to do it
thank god they failed
I was so worried about a jinx w that kind of comment
Fuck the world we didn't lose!
Kind of want to fly up there
Only if you crash w Bert and post your experience
You going to any of the final four stuff. Wasn’t impressed with the concert lineup but want to check it out.
Yep to watch the hogs
I’m not going to get tickets but going to check it out. Didn’t go to any of the stuff last time it was in Houston.
Are you closing down you law firm and letting us sleep on couches?
I have an overpriced hotel near George Bush Airport so that's not ideal
bertwing w stupid big money bets
XNA money talks
I wouldn't touch it. I don't think we've strung together two wins against two good teams in a row since Christmas.
Get your ass up here
it’s cold and miserably windy