Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
What Eric Musselman said on his radio show previewing UNC-Charlotte, Oklahoma
Arkansas coach Eric Musselman reacts on the sidelines against Gardner-Webb during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday Nov. 13, 2021, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Here are a number of highlights from Arkansas coach Eric Musselman's radio show Monday evening:
• Musselman said he feels as if his team is still trying to figure out who it is, but the coaching staff is beginning to nail down its rotation.
• Musselman brought up the fact that the Razorbacks have not shot the ball well from the perimeter through eight games, but "I still think the lid is going to kind of come off. We do it in practice, but we haven’t exhibited it in a game yet." He likes how hard the team has played.
• Every game is hard, Musselman said, and they become a lot harder when you are a ranked team. "When you’re ranked, there’s celebration when teams beat you, so there’s added pressure. ... We’ve been able to turn it on and play good enough to win games lately by a margin that is respectable."
• On team playmakers, Musselman said when Arkansas needs a score, the team can count on Au'Diese Toney's basket cutting and hitting the offensive glass. And the more touches Jaylin Williams – the team's assists leader – gets, the better the Razorbacks are.
• JD Notae and Davonte Davis, defensively, are really good together, he noted. They have helped Arkansas hold the leading scorer on opposing teams, on average, roughly four points under what they were scoring entering the game.
• North Carolina-Charlotte is "a really scary team," Musselman said. Jahmir Young has five 20-plus point games this season. He is a "phenomenal three-point shooter and great off the dribble." Musselman added that Young is responsible for approximately 28 points per game for the 49ers when factoring in assists. "We’ve go to do a good job defending and pressuring the ball and not getting beat on back-door cuts while also defending the three-point line."
• On the Oklahoma game in Tulsa on Saturday: Lon Kruger was the Sooners' coach when the game was set up, he said. Kruger is the nicest man in the world, Musselman added, but he is also "like a tiger and a fierce competitor." Kruger encouraged the game be played and everyone else put the pieces together. Oklahoma is now coached by Porter Moser.
• Musselman said there is more parity than ever in college basketball and that anybody can beat anybody on a given night. Florida on Monday lost 69-54 at home to a previously winless Texas Southern team. He added that when he played, transfers were rare, and with all the changes with every team each season consistency becomes an issue on a nightly basis. "You can look at college scores almost every night and ask, 'How did that happen?'"
• On South Dakota transfer Stanley Umude: Musselman said he can score the ball, but it has not always been easy for him, because he used to be a high-volume, high-usage player at his previous school. Musselman added that he needs to do a "better job running plays for him in his sweet spots. He’s really good in the midrange and can rise up over people." He also called for Umude to rebound the ball consistently when he’s on the floor.
• On Davonte Davis' recent offensive surge: Musselman said the coaching staff is thrilled the guard is playing better. He said the two talked and Musselman told Davis that his strengths are dribble driving, getting out in transition and making incredible passes. "We just want him to get out in the open floor and know he has freedom with the ball in his hands," he added.
• More on UNC-Charlotte: Musselman said the 49ers "probably execute better than anyone we’ve played" and have more discipline, and they have Power 5 transfers, so they will have good length. It is a team, he noted, that is going to "beat some people this season because they have some mature, good players. ... Young is probably as good as anybody we’ve played thus far."
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