Earlier this season when the Arkansas Razorbacks started 0-3 in SEC play, the coaches and players kept their cool. There was no conflict, no arguing, no finger-pointing, nothing like that. What they did was hit the practice facilities and figured some things out. The Razorbacks lost a big chunk of offense from last season’s Elite Eight team. And with all the new guys that transferred in, it took some time to figure things out. It took several practices and more than a few games for them to gel as a team.
After that 0-3 start, Hogs are now 12-4 in SEC. That’s good for 2nd place, just one game back of Auburn. Hogs are 13-1 in their last 14 games. Their only loss in this stretch is a one-point 68-67 road loss at Alabama. And if the Hogs could’ve made a few more 3s at Alabama they would’ve won that game too.
With the NCAA Tournament just around the corner, the Razorbacks have improved their resume more than most teams. Hogs March Madness stock has been steadily rising last 14 games. Arkansas has played themselves into the 4-5-6 seed range, I think that’s appropriate. However, the regular season isn’t over yet. Two SEC games left (LSU at home, at Tennessee) and the SEC Tournament in Tampa.
Hog point guard JD Notae is a big reason for their season straightening out. The offense runs through Notae, he can score inside and outside. Great passer as well. Stellar defender. And had a huge game in the win over Kentucky, with 30 points and 8 assists. Notae is now the first SEC player with 30 points and 8 assists vs an AP Top 10 team in 25 years.
Another big reason for this Razorback resurgence is the play of Jaylin Williams. It seems like he gets better every game. He had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the Kentucky win. However, Williams’s most important stat is 44 charges taken. Unbelievable. To the average fan, taking a charge means nothing. Yet Williams’ charge drawn at LSU basically won the game. He’s drawn 44 charges this season, good for 1.57 charges per game. Jaylin Williams is the definition of a team player.
And being a team player is a concept that every guy on the Arkansas team has embraced. It sounds corny but they “share the sugar.” It doesn’t matter to these guys who scores what, they don’t care about that. All these guys want to do is win the game. As Al Davis said, “Just Win Baby!”
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