Ask Mike: Post Kentucky Muss Talk, Home Run Derby At Baum-Walker & Longhorns W/Hurt Feelings

on 2024-01-29 21:04 PM

Q. Our first question is from 77 Hog who asks: So what does that close loss to Kentucky mean? We led most of the game. We didn’t get blown out. They are a top five team. But we still lost. I think we are done.

A. I tend to think you are right. Yes, the defense was much better. Give Muss and his players credit for finally playing smart and with energy on the defensive end.
But this team doesn’t have a point guard that can direct the offense against a good SEC defense. Outside of Tramon Mark there are no consistent scorers on this team and most are careless with the basketball. Those things are harder to fix.

Most of the fans want Muss to start Layden Blocker at the point and leave him there because he’s aggressive and in a lot of games Arkansas comes out with positive points while he’s on the floor. However, he often misses on layups and that has a way of turning into fast break points for the opponent. Plus he fouls too much. Still, he’s got a lot of potential and he’s a freshman so I have to agree with the fans. Play the young man. He’s an Arkansas kid and personally I don’t want him to be another in-state player who loves the Hogs but goes somewhere else because he’s sitting on the bench.

Q. mousetown says: Former Hog Jaylin Williams tweeted that Devo Davis is dealing with some issues that the fans don’t know anything about. He also basically told those fans criticizing Devo for quitting to the team to get a life. What’s the story behind this?

A. There has not been an official explanation for what happened and I’m not comfortable passing on what I’ve heard. Unless Devo himself comments publicly I’ll go with Jay-Will. They’re close. I think he’s in a position to know and he’s basically saying that Devo is dealing with some issues and the fans should stop all this “he’s a quitter” stuff. Also the release on his departure indicated that he was “stepping away from the team.” This suggests, like in a similar situation last year, Devo could return.

Q. Jimmy Roudy says: A guy on Facebook is saying that Musselman is looking into the Louisville job. The guy is not one of my Facebook friends so I don’t know how solid this is. Know anything about it?

A. I saw that on Facebook and I had heard it earlier from a pretty good source. However I checked into it and I was told that if Muss takes another job it won’t be Louisville. There seems to be almost a consensus from people I talk to who know Muss that if he leaves Arkansas it will be for a job close to his mother in Southern California. Arizona State maybe or UCLA. Some think the Arizona State job might open up after the season is over. If so we’ll see.

Q. jfred59 wants to know: What does Muss have against Fall? Has the media asked him? Surely he could help this team.

A. I’m sure he has been asked questions about Fall. I don’t remember anything specific he’s said. Fall has played in just 7 of 20 games. He’s scored 6 total points in those 7 games. Now he’s only averaging five and a half minutes a game but if he played more, say 20 minutes a game, that would average out to around four points a game and 5 rebounds. Clearly he’s not a scorer at this point but he is a decent rebounder. However he fouls a lot. If you convert 5 minutes a game to 20 he’d be at around 4 fouls per game with about 2 1/2 turnovers. I know some fans want to see him play more and some are worried that he will transfer but there is nothing that I’ve seen to suggest that if he played more this team would get better.

Q. Marty Byrde’s proxy asks: Will we reach a point where Muss plays only a handful of guys who will be asked back next year. Sort of like MLB teams do in September when they’re out of contention. Or will there be even a handful back?

A. He hasn’t done that yet. He has said he will keep trying different combinations of players trying to come up with something that works better. I think it’s more likely that he will finally settle on a specific rotation and stick with it and it won’t be based strictly on who is coming back. I could wrong. If he’s gonna do what you suggest I would think it would happen in the next couple of weeks. As for how many will be back, I’d say Tramon Mark, Layden Blocker and Baye Fall. Maybe Trevon Brazile if his draft stock continues to fall.

Q. CowHog32 wants to know: Why in the world did Gameday choose to come this year? They already knew we were struggling before they scheduled it. I’m not normally a ESPN hates us guy but I’m really wondering what they are trying to accomplish here.

A. That decision could have been a disaster for Arkansas. But it worked out okay. Arkansas played a clearly superior Kentucky team nose to nose for most of the game. Led deep into the second half. What was ESPN trying to accomplish? Maybe they thought there would be a big upset. I don’t think much of ESPN. I think they’ll go broke sooner than later. Somebody will buy them out and start over. If they’re smart they’ll take politics completely out of what they do. ESPN has ripped its britches trying to push political issues. But I don’t see anything about this particular decision that was a shot at Arkansas.

Q.Hogman80 says: The ladies need to get more respect! 16-6 and 4-3 in SEC Play. And the 4 SEC wins have been without Taliah. Multiple wins have been without some of their better players also. Coach Neighbors has done a great job!

A. We had a question like this last week about gymnastics. Women’s basketball gets plenty of coverage. They have played much better over the last few weeks. It looks like they will make the NCAA Tournament and I think they could win a game or two if they keep doing what we’ve seen lately. They are scoring inside more. They’ve upped the tempo and are scoring more in transition. They’re rebounding better and playing better defense. Also they are spreading their scoring around more.

Q. WVHogfan asks: Based on preseason expectations; which coach, Pittman or Musselman, do you think is/was more surprised, disappointed, and frustrated with how their teams performed against SEC opponents this year?

A. I think both were expecting better seasons but Muss has to be the most surprised. His team was just outside the top 10 in preseason. Got off to a good start and then fell apart. I said last week I don’t remember an Arkansas team ranked this high in preseason that has achieved less. It’s still hard to figure.

Q. Hog in Iowa says: In all of the football recruiting pictures when showing the prospect wearing the Arkansas uniform, they are all wearing the darkened visor that covers their face. Is there a rule that says the face can’t be shown?

A. Yes. A school is not allowed to name, comment on, show pictures or video of recruits. However recruits are allowed to comment on a visit, put up photos or video on their own social media accounts.

Q. Hawgredneck says: With what happened to our football and basketball teams I’m nervous about baseball. Our pitching is supposed to be outstanding but in the first scrimmages they gave up home run after home run. Explain why I’m over reacting.

A. Those home runs are somewhat misleading. There were five in Sunday’s scrimmage but only six runs were scored. Four solo homers and one two-run shot. Other than that, seven Arkansas pitchers gave up just two runs in the six innings played. There were 14 strikeouts and just four walks. To me the pitching was good. I just think this team is loaded with power hitters.

Q. Eddy Lynn says: I noticed in Sunday’s Arkansas baseball scrimmage that 6 of the 8 runs scored by the two teams came off of home runs. Looks like to me that are still emphasizing all that launch angle stuff. The last few years the inability to hit singles and doubles with men in scoring position has been a problem. I hope we’re not about to go through that again.

A. There were only five total runners left on base. There were six additional hits not counting the five home runs. Those aren’t great small ball-type numbers but not terrible either. It’s too early to panic. It was one scrimmage.

Q. OKC Hog wants to know: What’s up with all this crybaby stuff from the Texas Basketball team. Got their feelings hurt by the upside down Hook ’em Horns logo. Are they gonna play that card in the SEC? If so tell ’em to go back to the Big 12.

A. Okay this started when Texas lost to Central Florida and some of the opposing players flashed the reverse hook ’em sign in the post game handshake. Head coach Rodney Terry went off on that in a rant after the game. He has since apologized for his remarks. Said he overreacted. A second incident occurred during Texas’ road game at BYU. Students who were sitting behind Texas’ bench were wearing T shirts that spelled out “Horn’s down.” They were asked to take them off. It’s still not clear if this was a decision by the BYU athletic department or if Texas complained.

As for how this will be treated when Texas comes into the SEC this fall, our Alyssa Orange looked up the policy and posted it on X. It sounds like the fans will not be affected at all. However any player displaying the reverse hook ’em sign could end up drawing a penalty depending on how the refs view the situation. If a player flashes the sign in the face of a Texas player it’s probably going to be considered taunting with a 15 yard penalty. If, after a big play, opposing players gather away from Texas players and flash the sign among themselves it would probably not be a penalty.

My guess is opposing SEC fans will be fine with this policy but don’t expect them them to hold back. From the stands there will be lots of upside down hook ’ems and signs indicating the same.

Q. RazorAlex88 says: I gotta go with former Hogs Dre Greenlaw and Brandon Allen and the Niners to beat the K.C. Swifties in the Super Bowl. It seems KC has become the team most people hate just like New England was during their heyday. Go 49ers!!

A. It’s not a big deal to me. but we’ve got a big Swiftie sitting right here so I’ll let Courtney answer this question.

Courtney: Courtney here, like Mike mentioned above, I’m a big Swiftie so personally I love that Kansas City is making another Super Bowl appearance. I think so many people hate them because they are becoming a dynasty like the Patriots when they had Tom Brady. I think more people hate them now because of the whole Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce situation, which to me is really ridiculous. Go Chiefs!

(Last updated: 2024-01-29 21:04 PM)