Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Hogs must be better this time vs. Tide
Alabama's John Petty (23) looks to shoot as Arkansas' Desi Sills scrambles to defend him during a game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Photo via SEC Pool)
When Arkansas played Alabama on Jan. 16, the Hogs had their heads handed to them 90-59.
The Razorbacks scored first, and it was pretty much downhill from there.
The Tide led by as many as 36 points in the second half. Although the Razorbacks were held to just 19 first-half points on 23% shooting, they did play better in the second half, scoring 40 on 40%.
Alabama, though, won both halves.
The Tide attempted 36 threes (and just 28 twos) and made 15, so saying the Razorbacks’ perimeter defense needs to be much better tonight in Bud Walton Arena is a gross understatement.
Alabama is sitting atop the SEC standings because the Tide have improved since that game.
Yet, so have the Razorbacks.
When the Hogs do as they are coached to do, which is pass the ball and look for chances for someone to isolate on a defender, they end up with lots of assists and wins.
The Hogs had eight assists and 18 turnovers in the first game against the Tide, so protecting the ball is a big thing, too.
It was not a pretty game for the Razorbacks. The scoring went like this: starters not including Moses Moody were 7-of-22 shooting for 18 points, and the bench was 4-of-16 shooting for 13 point. Moody was 10 of 25 for 28.
Moody is not a selfish player, never has been, but the ball wasn’t being moved quickly and safely that night.
In their seven-game SEC winning streak, the Razorbacks have averaged 15 assists per game with the high being 22 and the low 12.
That’s the type of unselfish play Eric Musselman expects.
Here’s the warning: In that same winning streak, they still averaged almost 14 turnovers. That number could get them beat tonight.
In the first game, the Crimson Tide had 16 points off turnovers to just six for the Hogs.
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