Razorback basketball report: Week-long layoff an X factor

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman is shown during a game against Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Fayetteville. (Hank Layton/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

FAYETTEVILLE — Neither Eric Musselman nor Mike White is sure how the week between games for the University of Arkansas will play out when it hosts Georgia at 5 p.m. today at Walton Arena.

The Razorbacks (11-11, 2-7 SEC) last played a week ago in Baton Rouge, La., falling 95-74 at LSU in a morning tip.

The Bulldogs (14-9, 4-6 SEC) dropped a hard-fought 75-62 decision at Mississippi State on Wednesday for their fourth loss in a row.

“I have no idea,” Musselman said on how the break would play out. “Nobody does on a bye week, whether it helps or hurts.”

LSU had been off the entire week before thumping the Hogs last Saturday.

“Certainly if LSU had some sickness or some minor injuries, it helped them heal, because I’ve heard the LSU staff talk about they did have that and that helped them,” Musselman said.

“I don’t know until the game is over if it helped us or hurt us. I know the 11 a.m. did not help us when we played. That I know for sure. I would prefer no bye week and would prefer keeping in the rhythm. So Georgia’s in their normal rhythm routine. For us, we’ve got a week to try to get in the gym and practice and get better.”

Georgia’s White was equally uncertain what the break could mean for Arkansas.

“You know, I’m not sure,” White said on a Friday video call. “You know, we’ve had seven days between games before and you don’t play well, whether they’re home or away. We’ve had a seven-day break and you prep and you play really, really well. So it’s just … it’s a factor that can go either way.

“Who knows? I mean, I think more of it probably depends on on how you practice and how you execute in those 40 minutes.”

On the Mark

Georgia Coach Mike White is very aware of the scoring potential of Arkansas guard Tramon Mark, the Houston transfer who leads the team and ranks fifth in the SEC with 17.8 points per game.

Mark hit 7 of 14 shots and was the only Razorback in double figures with 24 points in Georgia’s 76-66 win on Jan. 10 in Athens, Ga.

“We really struggled to defend, especially Mark, down the stretch,” White said. “You know, he’s very tough to contain.

“They missed some shots for us. We’re going to have to play better on the road … especially in that environment.”

Not TB time

Arkansas guard Davonte Davis will be back in uniform today but forward Trevon Brazile will miss his fourth consecutive game since suffering from knee pain aggravated by a tweak prior to and during a 77-51 loss at Ole Miss on Jan. 24.

Asked on Friday if Brazile was any closer to a return, Coach Eric Musselman said, “No, no.

“I think the timetable is up to the player, the trainer. … He’s not comfortable moving laterally right now.

“It’s really in the trainer’s and the strength coach’s and the player’s hands. Doctor-wise right now, it just comes down to rehab and making it stronger, I guess, or making it more comfortable.”

No sulking

Georgia is in the midst of a four-game losing streak since notching a 68-66 win over LSU on Jan. 24 in Athens, Ga.

The Bulldogs have lost, in order, at Florida (102-98), to Alabama (85-76), to South Carolina (72-62) and at Mississippi State (75-62) during the streak.

“I can’t even tell you off the top of my head because we’re so focused on Arkansas who the last four opponents even were,” Coach Mike White said Friday. “Our league now, it’s … were we favored by 15 points in all of those games and now the wheels are falling off? It’s not that scenario.

“We’re losing to some very good teams, who we had chances to beat, so there’s some positives obviously. Do I like the fact we’ve lost four in a row? No. Again, if we sit here and sulk we have no shot against Arkansas.”

New unis

The Razorbacks will wear a new jersey and shorts design, the 16th different uniform donned by the Hogs during Coach Eric Musselman’s five seasons.

The new kit will feature “Arkansas” and “Razorbacks” written above and below the players’ number in a circular fashion on the front of the top. A Hog logo is on the bottom right thigh of the shorts, which are outlined in double cardinal lines along the trim. The top also features double lines of cardinal trim at the neckline and the arm holes. The Nike swoosh is located on the front of the right shoulder and an SEC patch is on the front of the left shoulder.

White ledger

Georgia Coach Mike White will face Arkansas for the 37th time as a player, assistant or head coach tonight.

White’s teams hold a 22-14 advantage overall after breaking a three-game losing streak with a 76-66 decision at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Jan. 10.

Prior to that game, the Razorbacks had won 97-65 decision last Feb. 21 at Walton Arena in his first game against Arkansas as the coach at Georgia.

Arkansas also beat White’s Florida teams 75-64 at Walton Arena in 2021 and 82-74 at the Gators’ Exactech Arena in 2022 for the Hogs’ first win there since 1995.

White, 46, is 5-3 against Arkansas as a player at Ole Miss, 8-6 as an assistant coach and 9-5 as a head coach.

Series update

Arkansas leads the series against Georgia by a 26-17 count, including 13-3 in games played in Fayetteville, with a 1-0 mark at Barnhill Arena and a 12-3 advantage at Walton Arena.

Georgia has swept a season series against the Hogs once, in 2008, with an 82-69 win in Athens, Ga., and a 66-57 win in the SEC Tournament championship game played at Georgia Tech’s Alexander Memorial Coliseum before a limited crowd after a tornado hit the Georgia Dome earlier in the week.

Arkansas has swept the season series against Georgia five times, the last in 2015. The teams met in the SEC Tournament each of the Hogs’ first three years in the league and Arkansas won each meeting: 73-60 in Birmingham, Ala., in 1992; 65-60 in Lexington, Ky., in 1993; and 95-83 in Memphis in 1994.

The Razorbacks have won the last six against the Bulldogs at Walton Arena by an average margin of 17.3 points. Arkansas is 3-2 against Georgia under Eric Musselman, with home wins by scores of 99-69 and 97-65.

20 x 3

Georgia guard Noah Thomasson hit a career-high 6 three-pointers in the Bulldogs’ 75-62 loss at Mississippi State on Wednesday for his third 20-point game of the season.

The 6-4 senior from Houston transferred in from Niagara in the offseason. He shot 6 of 13 from the floor, 3 of 6 from three-point range, and had 15 points, 2 assists and 1 rebound in the Bulldogs’ 76-66 win over Arkansas on Jan. 10.