PTN’s “Ask Mike” Segment for February 3rd

Pig Trail Nation

Our first question this week comes from YellCountyHog21 who says: Obviously this basketball team has limitations due to their lack of size and depth, which is no fault of Coach Muss, but what grade would you give him and the team so far?

I” give coach Muss an “A” plus. I think he’s gotten about all out of this bunch that is possible given the obvious limitations. But I’d give the players a B” plus. They work hard, they don’t quit. But they don’t always listen to their head coach. the last minute of tjhe Alabama game is a good example. They were up by seven points. Twice they fouled on missed three point shots. in that situation you don’t get close enough to foul. Let the guy shoot. Don’t bail him out. Also at one point they were supposed to be running the shot clock down and Mason Jones took and missed NBA three pointer with about 12 seconds still left on the clock. You could see Musselman over on the bench about to pull his hair out. So the coach get’s an “A” plus. His players need to do a better job of taking their practices to the game.

NoogaHog WANTS TO KNOW: Is Nolan still around the basketball program? Is he still coming to games now that Mike Anderson is gone? Does he have any relationship with CEM?

Nolan’s wife Rose is ill these days. She requires a lot of care so he doesn’t leave the ranch much. That’s why you don’t see him at games this season. But coach Muss has reached out to a lot of Nolan’s former players.. Has brought them in to talk with the current team. Wants his guys to know about the tradition of this program. I know Nolan appreciates that. Hopefully he’ll be back in his seat at Bud Walton in the future.

CowHog32 ASKS: With the recent passing of Kobe Bryant can you tell us what current Razorback most possesses the Mamba mentality?

I’d have to go with Jimmy Whitt Jr. The kid works his tail off on both ends of the floor. He’s averaging 36 and a half minutes a game. Rarely. If you look, the games this team has lost it’s usually been because the other team sold out to stop Whitt.

HotlantaHog is curious: What was the deal with the officiating and number of fouls on both sides in the South Carolina game? It was painful to watch. Was the technical foul deserved?

Soth Carolina is top in fouls in the SEC and close to leading the nation in fouls. I thing Frank Martin did a smart thing just after the halftime buzzer went off. He got in the face of those refs. Let them have it. UI htink they went to their dressing room and talked about trying to balanced the fouls called better in the second half. That meant calling more fouls on both teams. Wjhen we saw. Yes it was bad. But it is what it is. Arkansas’ technical was on a staff member on the bench. The refs are going to tolerate a lot from most coaches but they are not going to be forgiving when it comes to assistants, players and staff members on the bench.

SED76 says: Can you explain to everyone why the University of Arkansas keeping a presence in Central Arkansas is important? On message boards and social media it seems most Northwest Arkansas fans get fighting mad over things like the baseball and basketball team playing one game a year in Little Rock.

Because they don’t think they should have to travel to watch an Arkansas game and they don’t like it that the annual basketball and baseball games in North Little Rock are not televised. These people point to other universities that don’t play home games away from home. Alabama used to play games in Birmingham. Auburn played in Atlanta. They stopped and Arkansas should too according to these people. They are either oblivious to or don’t care about the reason for playing central Arkansas games. John Barnhill first recognized the value of this when Clyde Scott left the Naval Academy and transferred back home after marrying Miss Arkansas after he met her during the Miss American contest. They were hugely popular as a couple all over the state. Arkansas football team picked up fans that it didn’t have before. Barnhill pushed for the construction of War Memorial Stadium and in 1948 Arkansas football became a statewide product. It was a good idea back then. It’s still a good idea.

Swine American says: The baseball team struggled last Fall when they played Oklahoma and OSU in exhibition games. Should we read anything into that in terms of how we will perform this Spring and Summer or did DVH simply evaluate talent and individual performance without any emphasis on winning these games?

No, he wanted to win those games. Arkansas got good pitching in both of ’em. They had no hitting. Look Casey Martin was out with a hand injury. Braydon Webb, a JUCO all American who hits for power and for average ran into the outfield wall in practice and he was out. And true freshman Moore was still in high school last fall. He enrolled in January and this kid can hit and he’s an awesome 2nd baseman. You put those three into the lineup and hitting’s not going to be an issue when the season starts.

hammerdown asks: What is your prediction for the baseball team this year? Do you believe they will make the CWS again? What is their greatest obstacle to getting there?

Maybe the best team on paper I’ve ever seen in the preseason. Three All-SEC players. Two first teamers. Everybody in the lineup can hit and several others. No defensive weaknesses. The defensive skills in the infield are amazing. One of the best catcher in college baseball. A talented and deep pitching staff. This is the kind of team that can win the SEC. Doesn’t mean they will. But you can never say a team will get to Omaha. Too many things can happen along the way. Right now Hog fans should just sit back and enjoy this team. Dave Van Horn and his staff are really recruiting these days.

Orlando Hog wants to know: Do you have a favorite Steve Atwater story when he was at Arkansas? Congrats to the newest member of the NFL Hall of Fame!

Here’s a story to demonstrate just how smart I am. When Atwater dropped a sure fire interception…right in his hands…. late against Miami that would have given Arkansas a 10-0 record going into the Cotton Bowl and would have snapped Miami’s long home winning streak in the Orange Bowl Stadium I said to the guy next to me…That’s why Atwater will never make it in the NFL. He can tackle but he doesn’t have the hands be a pro safety. And of course he was all pro multiple times and now is in the pro football hall of fame. I hope that guy doesn’t remember what I said.

Superhog1959 recalls: Years ago I read Lou Holtz book where he said the 77 Arkansas team was probably his best team ever. I read somewhere he told people that the Hogs would win the 78 Orange Bowl and it wouldn’t be close. He later said he changed their entire offensive line blocking scheme in 1 month. Is this true?

It’s true that he told his players that they would win the game even with three of their bast offensive players suspended. He had that much faith in the depth of that team. And they did have depth. Frank Broyles and his staff recruited that team. They did a hell of a job. I don’t remember anything about changing the blocking schemes. I do remember the hot rumor that came out of Oklahoma after the game. Supposedly Barry Switzer and his defensive coordinator Larry Lacewell had a big blowup the week of he game and Lacewell was so mad that he gave Holtz Oklahoma’s defensive game plan which is what Arkansas scored 31 points in that game. It was a stupid rumor. An excuse started by OU fans who where embarrassed that the Sooners got run over in that game.

iwastherein1969 says: The “Little General” capitulated and listened to the idea of changing our starting 5 against the Game Cocks. Do you think Coach Muss is likely to listen to this particular assistant when it comes to who starts and who may get to come off the bench to play limited minutes the rest of the season ?

The assistant you’re referring to is his dog. He claimed he was walking the dog who told him that he needed to change the starting lineup. That’s not the first time he’s said that. The truth is Musselman has been doing anything he can to jump start this team during a three game SEC losing streak. They broke it against Alabama with yet another starting lineup change with Reggie Chaney starting in place of Adrio Bailey. Those changes will likely continue but I suspect that the dog’s got nothing to do with it.,

(notOM)Rebel123 says: Gary Crain with UAPD has sat behind the visitor’s bench at BWA for years. With the stir caused by Calipari’s recent ejection, has anyone ever interviewed Gary about funny or interesting things he’s overheard opposing coaches say over the years?

For those that don’t know Crain is the man who escorts the visiting coach on and off the court from the locker room. It’s his job to make sure than crazy fans don’t try anything. I have read some articles on him over the years. He’s a super nice guy but not real talkative. I’m pretty sure he would not reveal any juicy tidbits about opposing coaches even if he had some. He’s too professional for that.

BloodRedHog observes: The SEC does not look strong this year in basketball. There is no dominant team. What is your prediction for how many teams from the conference make it to the big dance?

You are correct. the SEC is very competitive this season but not strong nationally and that could affect the number of conference team selected. Most projections I see are six in from the SEC. That could drop to five but I don’t see seven getting in. Six sounds right.

Lanny wants to know: How big was the Alabama win? Will it get Arkansas into the NCAA tournament?

Barring a collapse yes, I think it put this team over the top. They’re four wins short of 20 now plus they’ve won two SEC road games and they’re 4-3 overall in road games. They’re 5th in the current power rankings. That’s big. I think they’re in.

A reminder. All the questions I use are posted on Hogville dot net. Go there if you’re not a member. Sign up for free and post your questions in the Ask Mike Forum.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back next Monday where once again you can ask Mike.

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