Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year three times.
Recent blowouts a sore spot for Razorbacks
Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman yells towards his bench during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against LSU Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. (Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP)
FAYETTEVILLE — Moses Moody said better days are ahead for the University of Arkansas basketball team after a week that probably felt more like a year to the Razorbacks and their fans.
The Razorbacks (10-4, 2-4 SEC) were routed at LSU 92-76 and at Alabama 90-59 and trailed by as many as 31 and 36 points to the Tigers and Crimson Tide.
Moody, a 6-6 freshman guard from Little Rock who led Arkansas with a season-high 28 points against Alabama, said the Razorbacks can reverse the course of their season after back-to-back losses.
“I feel like at your lowest point you’re open to your greatest change,” Moody said. “We’re just coming together and trying to make it through these couple tough games.
“But they say if you make it through the night there is a brighter day. We’re meeting a lot of adversity right now, so we’ve got to get through that, and we’re going to learn from that and we’re going to build on it.”
The 31-point loss to the Tide was the most-lopsided in Razorbacks Coach Eric Musselman’s six seasons as a college head coach at Nevada and Arkansas, surpassing a 29-point loss by the Wolf Pack at Wichita State, 98-69, on Dec. 22, 2016.
The 59 points for the Razorbacks matched their fewest under Musselman along with a 73-59 loss at Florida last season.
Alabama enjoyed its largest margin of victory in 64 meetings with Arkansas, surpassing an 83-58 victory on March 8, 2014, which had been the last time the Tide beat the Razorbacks prior to Saturday.
The Tide also had the largest margin of victory in an SEC game since they won at Mississippi State by 32 points, 75-43, on Jan. 16, 2013.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt when you’re losing like we are that we definitely have some players that have lost some confidence and probably the team as a whole,” Musselman said. “The only thing I know is to continue to teach, try to build them up. I think that’s the only thing that you can do.”
The good news for Arkansas is that after two losses by a combined 47 points, the Razorbacks are No. 36 in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings.
Arkansas, which began the week No. 20 in the rankings, stayed in the top 40 because LSU (10-3, 5-1) and Alabama (11-3, 6-0) have moved up to No. 22 and No. 19 with their strong starts in SEC play and the Razorbacks’ losses were on the road.
“It’s far from too late,” Moody said of the Razorbacks having time to rally. ”I mean, it’s still the beginning of the season.
“So it’s the best time for something like this to happen so we can learn from it now instead of later.”
Arkansas is back home to play Auburn (8-6, 2-4) at Walton Arena on Wednesday night.
“We can be building from [the losses] so we have something like this to look back on in the future and say we don’t want to end up back where we’re at now,” Moody said. “You can look at it as a positive … and this is going to help put us on the path for a great season.”
Before the Alabama game, Musselman was asked about the Razorbacks not letting the LSU loss linger.
“You’ve got to move on,” he said. “In football you’ve got a week between games. We play a sport where you better turn the page really quickly. And if you don’t turn the page really quickly, then shame on you.”
Now the Razorbacks need to make sure they flush the Alabama loss quickly to focus on Auburn.
Musselman said before the game that had to be the mindset regardless of the outcome.
“After the Alabama game, on the plane, we’ll dissect the game win, lose,” Musselman said. “We’ll go through it as a staff Sunday and then on Monday we’ll be worried about our next game on Wednesday.
“That’s just how you’ve got to approach things.”
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