Imagine if College GameDay still came to Fayetteville for the Alabama football game in 2012. That’s essentially what’s on deck for what has been an immensely disappointing Arkansas basketball season.
Just three days before ESPN’s premier preview show visits Bud Walton Arena for the first time, the Razorbacks suffered yet another embarrassing loss — this time by a 77-51 score at Ole Miss.
Arkansas is now just one game above .500 at 10-9 and 1-5 in SEC play, with the five losses coming by an average margin of 20.6 points. Even the lone win required a buzzer beater after squandering a 20-point lead.
Plenty of history has been made along the way and Wednesday’s addition was the Razorbacks’ most lopsided loss to Ole Miss in 50 years. During the 1973-74 season, they fell to the Rebels 117-66 in Oxford. Arkansas either won or lost by fewer than 26 in its previous 64 matchups against Ole Miss.
“It’s not one particular player, it’s not one particular position,” Arkansas basketball coach said. “It’s across the board. We’re getting out-played at every position right now.”
That is what ESPN is walking into when College GameDay comes to town Saturday morning ahead of the usually anticipated showdown with No. 6 Kentucky.
The show’s football counterpart was able to call an audible when the Razorbacks were upset by ULM, sparing Arkansas the embarrassment of hosting it for what was a 52-0 shellacking by the No. 1 Crimson Tide.
ESPN either can’t or won’t make a similar move, putting the Razorbacks struggles — of which there are many — on centerstage.
Staggering Numbers vs. Ole Miss
It was a truly atrocious night for Arkansas basketball, as it not only never led, but trailed by double digits for more than three-fourths of the game. Even including the Texas A&M game, which they led nearly wire-to-wire, the Razorbacks have had a deficit of at least 10 points for 48.6% of their total minutes in SEC play.
Here are some of the statistical “highlights” from Wednesday night in Oxford…
- Arkansas shot 33.3% from the floor, 22.7% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free throw line.
- The Razorbacks committed 10 turnovers in the game’s first 12 minutes. At that point, Ole Miss had more points off turnovers (17) than Arkansas had total points (14).
- Ole Miss easily won the rebounding battle, 43-28. The Rebels nearly had as many offensive rebounds (16) as Arkansas had defensive rebounds (19).
- Speaking of defensive rebounds, Chandler Lawson, Jalen Graham, Makhi Mitchell and Baye Fall combined for 37 minutes at the center position for Arkansas. They didn’t grab a single defensive rebound.
- The Rebels scored 38 points in the paint and went 11 of 20 on layups, plus made all five of their dunks. That’s 32 points right at the rim.
Injury Updates on Mark, Brazile
Already 6.5-point underdogs, Arkansas was without its leading scorer in Tramon Mark, who missed the game because of migraines.
The Houston transfer made the trip to Oxford, Miss., but was not very active during shootaround, according to the ESPNU broadcast. Eric Musselman revealed afterward that he had not practiced with the team since the South Carolina game on Saturday.
“T-Mark didn’t practice Monday or Tuesday,” Musselman said. “Obviously has a migraine. I’m not a doctor. He’s got a migraine, so that is what it is.”
It was a massive blow to the Razorbacks because they’ve already had enough trouble finding ways to score and Mark had accounted for 30.3% of their total points through the first five SEC games. He is averaging 17.8 points this season, which ranks fifth in the league, and 19.8 points in conference play.
On top of that, Arkansas also lost Trevon Brazile for the second half at Ole Miss.
In his first game off the bench, the big man played 12 minutes and scored 3 points with 4 rebounds and 1 steal in the first half. He had three turnovers, as well.
After halftime, the ESPNU broadcast announced he wouldn’t return because of a knee injury. He appeared to be experiencing some pain when he toppled over Jamarion Sharp while going for a rebound late in the half.
When he got up from the floor, Brazile pointed to his right knee – the same one in which he suffered a season-ending torn ACL last season. Although he stayed in the game to shoot free throws and played the ensuing defensive possession, Brazile checked out after having played only 26 more seconds.
Musselman said after the game that he has been experiencing some soreness in that knee since the Razorbacks went live in Monday’s practice. He also indicated the team doctor would look at it when they get back to Fayetteville.
“Again, I’m not a doctor. Therefore, for me, right now it’s soreness,” Musselman said when asked about his level of concern about the injury. “We don’t have our team doctor with us… Our trainer is really good. He’s usually spot-on with all the evaluations, so until I get further word, it is what Matt, our trainer, (says it is) and right now he’s calling it soreness.”
Up Next for Arkansas Basketball
As mentioned above, the Razorbacks are back home this weekend and hosting ESPN’s College GameDay ahead of their matchup with No. 6 Kentucky.
The Wildcats are 14-4 overall and 4-2 in SEC play, but are coming off a shocking 17-point loss at South Carolina – the same South Carolina team that beat Arkansas by 13 inside Bud Walton Arena last Saturday.
Tip off is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on ESPN.
Other Arkansas Basketball Tidbits
- Khalif Battle and Denijay Harris made their first career starts with Arkansas basketball on Wednesday. The former was far less surprising than the latter, as Battle has been one of the Razorbacks’ top scorers despite coming off the bench. Harris, on the other hand, had appeared in only eight of the first 18 games and played a total of 24 minutes.
- The Razorbacks have now used 10 different starting lineup combinations in 19 games this season.
- After being minus-15 on the boards against Ole Miss, the Razorbacks are now minus-11.8 in rebounding through six SEC games. That’s worse than they were in Eric Musselman’s first season, when they were minus-10.0 in conference play with 6-foot-6 Adrio Bailey being the tallest player.
- For the second straight game, Arkansas used 12 different players in the first half. The only scholarship player who didn’t see the floor was freshman Baye Fall and he ended up playing in the second half.
- Little Rock native Allen Flanigan, who played at Little Rock Parkview, posted a double-double for Ole Miss. He had 10 points on 5 of 12 shooting and 11 rebounds to go along with 3 assists and 2 steals in 26 minutes.
Arkansas vs Ole Miss Box Score
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