May 28, 2024

Arkansas is grappling with an identity crisis, and this struggle didn’t just emerge in the recent 83-51 loss to Auburn, marking the largest deficit in Bud Walton Arena history. The concerns have been apparent since the Gardner-Webb game, manifesting in a lack of defensive commitment, a disjointed offensive flow, and a noticeable absence of effort in rebounding. Coach Musselman acknowledges these issues, admitting that his team seems to lack the mental aspect needed for success this season. He points out the team’s vulnerability in allowing points in the paint, highlighting Auburn’s success through dribble-drives and post-ups. Defensively, there’s a reluctance to close off driving lanes, leading to dunks and easy layups. Auburn exploited this weakness by dominating the paint, scoring 48 of their 83 points inside. The Tigers also showcased extra physicality, outrebounding Arkansas on offensive boards 11-7 and outscoring them 13-4 in second chance points.

Razorback Trio Adds Midseason All-America Honors | Arkansas Razorbacks

Related: WATCH: Eric Musselman On the State of the Team After Auburn Loss

“We faced LSU and experienced a significant deficit of 28-1 on the boards, yet despite that, we gave ourselves an opportunity to win because the players grasped the situation,” Musselman explained. At one point, Arkansas led the nation in defending three-pointers and maintained a strong defensive presence in the second and third years. The Sweet Sixteen team from last season embraced the defensive strategy at a crucial time. Musselman’s current worry is that the current team may not fully comprehend the importance of defense. In the recent game against Auburn, the Razorbacks allowed 7-of-18 successful three-point attempts. The team averages permitting opponents to make precisely seven threes per game, ranking at No. 253 nationally. Reflecting on his first year, Musselman emphasized the understanding of the importance of guarding the three, a comprehension lacking in the current group. The team is struggling to establish an identity on both ends of the court, and Musselman expressed the need to continually discuss and address this issue. Whether a resolution is found remains uncertain.

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