About midway through the a new episode of “SEC Inside,” an SEC Network series that provides behind-the-scenes glimpses at SEC athletic programs accompanied by “NFL Films” style narration, Arkansas center Connor Vanover takes the spotlight.
Then, as the camera provides glimpses of an intense Razorback basketball practice, Vanover gets a voiceover to talk about what makes Eric Musselman a good leader.
“He cares about every little detail,” Vanover says, the sound of sneakers squeaking in the background. “He’s been a coach for 30 years. Every possession matters for every game. And so he just takes every little detail into account. That’s why he’s all over the court, to make sure that everything’s right because he knows just how one little mistake can cost the game.”
The cameras fixate on Musselman as he sidesteps and skitters across hardwood, arms raised, voice borderline hoarse, injecting the kind of intensity that helped Arkansas win seven SEC games and rise to No. 24 in the Associated Press.
That intensity came to the fore again in the Hogs’ latest effort, a 75-64 victory that was the Hogs’ first win over Florida at Bud Walton Arena since 2013.
Heading into the game, Florida led the SEC in field goal percentage (47.4%) and three-pointer accuracy (37.5%). But Arkansas, despite momentarily letting its foot off the pedal in the second half, stifled the Gators, holding them to 37.7% on field goals and 19% on three pointers.
It’s clear the same messages Arkansas’ head basketball coach had yelled in the “SEC Inside” had been received.
“Be strong! Good. Good. Good,” Musselman barked as he taught as he taught defensive positioning. “Here we go. Be strong. Get in your rhythm. Good. On high hand, jabbing, retreat. My feet are never stagnant… I’m jab and retreat.”
Vanover, whose development is a big reason for Arkansas’ improvement, continues:
“He’s always into it on every drill. If he sees something that’s not right, he’ll go in there and fix it himself. He just wants to make sure everyone’s on the same page and we all have it right.”
Too bad the same can’t be said of the SEC Network crew.
Disrespecting Jalen Tate and Moses Moody
The show repeatedly confuses Razorback guards Moses Moody for Jalen Tate. In multiple shots, Jalen Tate is labeled as “Moses Moody” and vice versa.
This would be more acceptable if the players confused weren’t well known, but Moody and Tate are among the most important and high-profile of the Razorbacks. Indeed, both players played pivotal roles in turning aside the Gators’ second-half push on Tuesday night.
Tate, in particular, was clutch on both sides of the ball. Here are a few of his highlights while the game hung in the balance:
2:18: Hogs up 63-62. Tate pulls up for 17 foot jumper over Florida’s Anthony Duruji to nail a high arcer Scotty Thurman would be proud of.
1:41: Justin Smith swats a driving Anthony Duruji layup attempt seven ways to Sunday. The ball ricochets off the backboard into the hands of Florida’s Colin Castleton. But Tate strips him and Moody grabs the ball.
1:05: With Arkansas up 67-64, Jalen Tate drives hard to the basket and picks up a foul on Duruji. He hits one of two shots.
:53 With Arkansas up 68-64, Tyree Appleby drives toward the paint on fellow Jacksonville, Ark. native Devo Davis. Tate reaches off his man, Tre Mann, to poke the ball out of Appleby’s hands. It ends as a tie-up with the ball going to Arkansas.
Jalen Tate almost coughed the ball up on the following play with a dangerous pass across the middle, but fortunately Moses Moody did his best Treylon Burks impression to wrest it away from Castleton.
The SEC Network Has No Excuses
The folks behind the Moody/Tate mishap should have no excuses.
It appears that the parties involved in making the first part of the episode might not have watched the last part, because toward the end footage is played in which Razorback broadcaster Chuck Barrett clearly identifies both Tate and Moody correctly by name.
Also, if the producers had any questions about what Tate and Moody look like, they could have asked anybody on the team, glanced at a media guide, looked on Instagram or even checked out this thing online called “Bing.”
Instead, in the hurry of trying to get the episode out on time, not-so-small details were overlooked and this happened:
It’s as if the same folks at the SEC Office who decided to “gift” Arkansas football with Florida and Georgia as SEC East opponents last year banded up with the same SEC referees who gifted Auburn the Arkansas-Auburn game and discovered there was yet another way they could put one over the Razorback athletic department.
Typos notwithstanding, this Arkansas basketball episode is worth checking out.
In covering a stretch of four Hogs games from the loss at Oklahoma State to the win at Missouri, it shows what makes Eric Musselman a special — and potential great — college basketball coach.
His motor and intensity come across loud and clear, as do his methods for keeping his players engaged with what essentially boils down to the same message year after year and month after month — try hard, play defense, rebound, keep trying hard.
I really like the slow motion highlights. From depicting the mechanics of Moody’s smooth jumper to Devo Davis’ passing skills to Tate’s ability to contort through the lane, this footage helps you appreciate some of the special talents on the team right now.
As well as its coach.
“Fire and intensity,” says Tate, speaking of Musselman. “He demands perfection and we want to strive for that. Sometimes it gets hard, but we know that he just wants us to be successful.”
So far, so good.
Check out a preview here:
“We’re gonna win or lose based on you guys’ effort and toughness. … Why not go try to make the NCAA Tournament?”
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 15, 2021
Highlights of the episode, which airs next on Friday morning:
- Before Kentucky-Arkansas, Musselman makes a metaphor with the Kentucky Derby and urges the team to bust “through the starting gate”
- In that game, the SEC Network announcer confuses Jalen Tate for Devo Davis. (Man, Jalen just can’t catch a break.)
Here’s the latest Eric Musselman show, taped after his celebratory disrobing at Missouri:
Hear from Eric Musselman and Justin Smith after Florida-Arkansas:
See our latest post here: