Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Potential impact of Arkansas HC Eric Musselman taking the USC job

Mar 6, 2024; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Eric Musselman during the
Mar 6, 2024; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Eric Musselman during the / Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
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Impact at Arkansas

There’s absolutely no question that this would be an awful day for the Razorbacks. Musselman’s impact at Arkansas has been profound. We detailed those three recent deep Tournament runs, but it’s not just about instant success. Before he was hired, Arkansas hadn’t sniffed the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament since 1996 when the legendary Nolan Richardson was just two years removed from a national championship.

Some pretty solid coaches have come through Fayetteville over the years and greatly underachieved but Musselman didn’t do that. There will certainly be an attractive swath of coaches interested in this potential opening, but there’s no guarantee it works out in their favor. After all, Musselman was hired as a successful mid-major coach with a professional coaching background. We’ve seen both former NBA coaches and mid-major coaches fail at the power conference level again and again.

Obviously, there’s no reason for panic, as Arkansas can absolutely survive a coaching change. The issue for the Razorbacks is that they’d find themselves even more behind the 8-ball than USC. Arkansas would be at least a week behind the Trojans in their own coaching search and it’s certainly harder to lure someone away from a head coaching job when they’re this deep into recruiting the Transfer Portal already.

With Musselman gone, things would look very different at Arkansas next season. Even if he does return, the Transfer Portal and potential changes could have the Razorbacks looking like a brand new team regardless of who’s the head coach. We won’t speculate on specifics on roster changes but it’s clear that Musselman has made Arkansas an attractive landing spot for their next head coach, whether that be this week or years down the line.

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Arkansas survives, though the program may take a step back for a few seasons, even with the right hire. USC likely takes a big step forward but shouldn’t expect success overnight, especially as they adjust to playing Michigan State and Purdue instead of Cal and Oregon State on a regular basis. Do you think Musselman should take the job at USC? What would the future hold for these two programs, and perhaps another program affected by Arkansas’s potential coaching search?