Before we get into the meat of the 2019 schedule and assess whether Chad Morris’ second season on the sideline will be demonstrably better than his forgettable first one, we deal with the usual array of burning questions about the program as it tries to once again rescue itself from the dregs of the SEC.
It’s summer, and the only thing to do now is wait, and digest all the recruiting and preseason football and basketball news that comes to the fore.
We Razorback fatalists known as “fans” are mindful of the fact that just when you think the University of Arkansas’s flagship athletic programs are filling you with shameless optimism, disappointment is in the offing.
The road to Omaha starts in Fayetteville this weekend as the Razorback baseball team hosts a Regional.
As is common when a “coaching search” gets underway at the University of Arkansas—at this rate, it’s been about an average of every two or three years during my lifetime that either the basketball or football head coaching position has changed—the rumor mill churns at a feverish pace and almost always ends up being discredited for one reason or another.
Any epitaph on someone’s coaching tenure is customary rife with negativity. This coach disgraced the program by falling off a motorcycle, lying about the circumstances, and hiring a young blond with no conceivable credentials as his “aide.”
Arkansas has had a curious history in the SEC men’s basketball tournament. The 1994 national champs were ousted from it by a stellar Kentucky squad, and when that happened, it seemed to provide a spark as the Hogs spent the next three weeks wiping out their competitors to claim the ultimate crown.
Say what you will about these basketball Hogs, they’re doing their damnedest to still make March an interesting month.
The hardwood Hogs’ six-game losing streak reached its paradoxical high and low of the entire season in the span of a single half against Kentucky in Rupp Arena.
Arkansas’s standby excuse during the lean portions of the Mike Anderson era has been reduced to one word or its variants thereof: “youth.”
Arkansas fans, you may well have witnessed SEC and Arkansas history on Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
Mike Anderson’s still, in the humble opinion of Pearls, coaching for his short- and long-term job security. He remains upbeat about his young team’s future, but a lot of tough games are on the schedule yet, and this team really doesn’t have a signature win to speak of.
When Arkansas started SEC play by sneaking out of College Station, Texas, with a really shaky victory over those pernicious Aggie types, it all seemed so simple, right? The formula for some degree of success in what is shaping up to be a rough-and-tumble league in 2018-19 was set: The Hogs could ill afford to be so reliant on the three-pointer, they had to be aggressive defensively, and they had to figure out some way to get their short, inexperienced bench to contribute.
Young basketball teams — we’ll routinely exclude those at Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and the like, which feature top-tier talent at every position — really struggle to find cohesiveness. Arkansas’s 2018-19 men’s squad is often described as the “youngest team in America” because there are no seniors and only a single scholarship upperclassman (junior forward Adrio Bailey) on the roster.
The major Arkansas programs continue to get one meaningful opportunity to take their talents to the center of the state each season and the pre-Christmas squaring off between the basketball Hogs and a generally inept foe has become tradition.
After an impressive six-game run that was punctuated with a rout of Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. — exacting some small measure of vengeance for the Rams beating the football Hogs there in a crushing defeat in September — the Arkansas Razorbacks came back to a pretty lively Saturday afternoon gathering in Bud Walton Arena to take on a 4-4 Western Kentucky team that, based on its record alone, appeared average at best.
For as achingly far off the pace as the Arkansas Razorback football program seems to be, I find myself shocked that this Hog basketball team could end up being pretty good despite a tumultuous offseason in which virtually everyone aside from Daniel Gafford left town.
The postmortem on the 2018 Arkansas football season need only be characterized by a flood of unwelcome superlatives: most anemic, least disciplined, farthest from national relevancy and ... well, just plain worst.
The weekend before Thanksgiving brought Arkansas Razorback athletics more despair on the gridiron and hope on the hardwood. We'll take what we can in this trying 2018, eh?
We could routinely trot out more verbiage about how these 2018 Arkansas Razorbacks keep on fighting to salvage a lost campaign.