Arkansas Basketball: Why can’t they win in the SEC?

Arkansas Basketball

Bobby Portis (Photo Credit: Gareth Patterson/AP)

Arkansas fell to 2-5 in the SEC Tuesday night after falling to Missouri, 75-71. There are many reasons why Arkansas is struggling to win in the SEC, here are a few key reasons:

1. Win on the road, but also at home.

Arkansas, obviously, struggles to win on the road. They haven’t won a SEC road game all season and it’s a continuous problem for them, but now they are struggling to win at home as well. Arkansas did not lose an SEC game in Bud Walton Arena last season and they have already lost two (Florida and Missouri) this season.

This Arkansas team is better than last season’s so why can’t they even win at home? Well, the rest of these reasons factor into that answer.

2. Make smart decisions.

This is something Arkansas has struggled with all season but now it is really hurting them, mostly on the offensive side. Against Missouri, Arkansas shot 29 three-pointers. That is way too many, especially when you only make 12.

Mike Anderson would like for Arkansas to never have to set up in a half-court offense. He would rather them push the ball and score in transition.

They struggle in a half-court offense so they feel rushed to just throw up a shot and start jacking up three’s with 20-30 seconds left on the shot clock.

Arkansas needs to learn to be more patient with the ball, which will get them an open look. The “Fastest 40” style doesn’t work when you have to set up in a half-court offense.

Don’t take the first “decent” shot that is available, work some time off the clock and make smart decisions to get a good open look. When that open look is available, they have to convert (especially in the paint). In the first half against Missouri, Arkansas made only two 2-point baskets on ten attempts.

They also struggle at getting the ball inside. For some odd reason, they look as though they are reluctant to feed the big men inside. It almost seems as if the guards don’t trust the big men to go score, which takes away from the post player’s confidence.

3. Finish, finish, finish

Arkansas has struggled closing out games during SEC plays.  They couldn’t hold a lead in the final four minutes in their losses against Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri.

They are able to play with anyone in the SEC but why can’t they finish the game? It goes back to making smart decisions, which really hurts them in the final minutes of games.

Clock management is huge when the game comes down to the final minutes and Arkansas’ clock management isn’t the best. Knowing how much time is on the clock, how much needs to run off the clock is crucial. Knowing when to foul and who to foul on the defensive side are crucial, as well.

Arkansas is a fairly young, inexperienced team. Their inexperience shows more than anything in the final minutes of games. It’s not an excuse, but being able to finish games comes with experience. Hopefully, Arkansas can learn from their mistakes to help them move forward and win games in the SEC.

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