Before memes, nonsensical shared information often came in the form of what were called old wives’ tales. In the pre-internet era, these invariably vague sayings often dealt with, weirdly, the weather.
The Farmer’s Almanac sported a little something that went like this: “Welcome to (insert state here). If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute!” Or the one that was most popular during this weekend’s unseasonably warm spell:
These are essentially engagement farms. You know, a lot like calling for Eric Musselman’s firing on Twitter when you don’t actually believe it, but understand somewhere in the back of your mind that you’re frustrated about the state of Arkansas basketball. Or panicking about the Diamond Hogs because of a double-digit loss in the second game of the season. They earn digital plaudits and capital like candy on Halloween.
Now we exist in a world in which you can add to your own capital by betting on those Hogs inside the state of Arkansas. Soon, we may be heading to a world in which you can bet on the weather inside the state of Arkansas, too. Like mama always said, that goes together like peas and carrots.
Wild Season for Arkansas Basketball
Razorbacks hoops has been a bit wild this season, a lot like the weather (everywhere). In the outside world, the culprit’s climate change. In the arena, it’s injuries. One of them, at least, can change going forward. Enough so, anyway, that Arkansas was back to its winning ways in the last week, easily knocking off an undermanned Gators bunch in Bud Walton Arena, followed by a severe trouncing of Georgia.
Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas’ dynamic likely lottery pick of a freshman guard, has looked a lot more like the player he was recruited to be when he was the No. 1 signee in the nation in the Class of 2022. Sure, there was the 26-point breakout vs Georgia but even in the game before, on a 4-for-12 shooting night against Florida, Smith’s mere presence alone was enough to force Florida’s hand defensively because players with his skill are so few and far between.
It’s clear Smith is as dangerous as his standing in high school showed. Arkansas needs someone who could be taken as high as fourth or fifth in the NBA Draft on the court. Second, the freshman’s injury is close to healed, or, rather, as close to healed as it needs to be to help save the Hogs’ basketball season.
He will need help from the likes of Jalen Graham, who was huge against Florida with 26 points with seven boards. Undoubtedly those totals were the biggest and brightest of that day. But Graham, like the weather and Arkansas’ season, is unpredictable. Sometimes, he’s unseasonably hot.
Baseball is another story, even if it’s the same narrative. After Hagen Smith and Brady Tygart shut down Texas in the season opener on Friday, nine Diamond Hogs pitchers combined to allow 19 hits, 11 walks and 18 runs in a 12-run loss to Texas Christian. And while those numbers, to be blunt, stink, a bulk of them came from players pitching in their first game during their first season with the club.
Oh, that and TCU is a national title contender who played only about 20 miles from campus on top of that. For good measure, the next day, against a team better than Texas but not as good as the Horned Frogs, Arkansas rolled Oklahoma State in much the same way, winning 18-1.
They followed that up by almost losing to a SWAC team at home.
A Potential Storm is Brewing
Now, though, the wait is for that ice. Arkansas basketball sits as a projected 8/9-seed and there’s the smell of storm on the horizon. That’s because the next game is on Saturday at No. 2 Alabama, against a team that has wiped out every competitor it has played there save one by at least 10 points. Despite the recent momentum, Arkansas will be a pretty clear underdog based on the odds coming out in Vegas and available through the WynnBET Promo Code. Afterward, it’s a road game vs Tennessee and home bout against a Kentucky team that, too, isn’t assured of an NCAA Tournament berth.
Baseball is less a concern. Coach Dave Van Horn will use the nonconference season to get his pitching in order and the Hogs will lose a game here or there that the people paying only basic attention to baseball think they shouldn’t. What the Diamond Hogs do in SEC play – much like their hardwood counterparts – will determine their postseason.
In other words, the forecast is unclear. Check the Almanac, but just don’t put any coinage down.
More coverage of Arkansas baseball and Arkansas basketball from BoAS…