Busting Brackets

Arkansas Basketball's Eric Musselman calls out his team during two-game skid

The Arkansas Basketball head coach Eric Musselman called out his team during the two-game skid they are currently on.
Abilene Christian v Arkansas
Abilene Christian v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Wednesday was just another example of the Arkansas Razorbacks basketball team not looking like the same program we have come to know after three straight Sweet 16 appearances and one that made two straight Elite Eight appearances under head coach Eric Musselman. It is not looking like the program we thought we would see when we did our season previews before the season started.

After their worst loss ever at home in Bud Walton Area, which saw them lose by 32 points to the Auburn Tigers, it was thought that maybe the Hogs would come out swinging against a Georgia basketball program that really hasn't been relevant since Anthony Edwards was in Athens. And even then, they still weren't a great team.

Now, they are obviously better than the Razorbacks, who have gotten the title of an elite program from most people who follow the sport. They dominated the Hogs on the glass, as most teams do these days, and killed them in the points off turnovers category, winning that area 25-10.

Then you dig deeper into the box score to find the other reasons the Bulldogs outplayed them, and it's pretty glaring. Musselman said it perfectly after the game, as it was pretty apparent he was not happy.

"I mean, the 3/21 from three; if you're a shooter, you have to make open shots," Musselman told reporters after the game. "I thought the difference in the game was some of their shooters making shots."

This team does not look like they can go to their fourth straight Sweet 16 appearance, let alone their third Elite Eight appearance in four years. Instead, they have had the worst loss at Bud Walton Arena ever. The Arena that opened in November 1993 also has Musselman with an overall record of 63-9 when playing at home. Then they go on the road and lose the way they did, just tops off the embarrassment even more.

Don't get it twisted, though; the Bulldogs outplayed the Hogs.

"Their shooters are making shots, and ours are not," he continued. "We obviously aren't the defensive team that we have been the last four years. We are not guarding the ball, and we certainly are not guarding the three-point shot. I think 3/21, we had a bunch of defenders in the past that can go 3/21."

This team wasn't great at shooting last season, yet they made up for it by finishing at the rim, moving the ball a bit better, and, most importantly, playing elite defense, which helped translate to fast-break points. This team, with nearly all new players outside of a few, does not do that.

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Musselman has a right to cancel out his team, and he has a right to be upset. Now, it won't get any easier, as they are set to take on a Florida team on the road who has been playing very well. Musselman has continued to try different starting lineups throughout the season to see if there is anything anywhere, but nothing has really been fixed. Let's see if they get it fixed before then.