USA TODAY Sports
We knew it would difficult to win in Gainesville, and the Hogs made a game of it in the first half but ran out of firepower after halftime.
The one time Arkansas has won a basketball game on the road this year, both Marshawn Powell and BJ Young had a good game. In the few road games in which Arkansas has been competitive, one or the other has played well. But when they both no-show, Arkansas has virtually no chance to win anywhere, especially against a really good team on the road.
Powell struggled due to foul trouble again. His two fouls in the first half were both offensive fouls and then drew some ticky-tack fouls in the second half. Definitely a disappointment for him. Young, however, simply had one of his worst games as a Razorback. He went 0-8 from the field, including 0-4 from three point land, and scored his three points on free throws early in the game.
The only way Arkansas can have a chance when Powell and Young struggle like that is if one of the other players on the team has some sort of abnormally awesome performance, like Anthlon Bell's 17 points against Georgia the other night. Bell and Coty Clarke combined for 32 points against the Gators, which would have been huge if the two stars had played up to their ability, but it wasn't enough when nobody else on the team could do much to help them out.
The reason Arkansas beat Florida in Fayetteville a couple of weeks ago is because the team shot incredibly well. They shot better than they have in any SEC game all year. Unfortunately, the team continues to shoot like they're a good three-point shooting team. Against Florida tonight, Arkansas was 6-27 from behind the arc. Understand, going into Saturday, Arkansas was 12th in the SEC in three point percentage but 4th in overall field goal percentage. Arkansas simply should not be shooting as many threes as they do. That is not smart basketball. Yet, they are sixth in the league in three point attempts. Sixth! It's impossible to justify being 12th in the league in percentage, but sixth in attempts.
Smart teams play to their strengths. Shooting threes should only be acceptable for a few players on this team. But nine different players attempted threes against Florida, only three players made at least one, and four players missed multiple threes without hitting one. It's inexcusable.
This team wasn't expected to win the game. Arkansas actually covered the spread, which was 18 points in some places, but they've shown they do have talent. Michael Qualls, Jacorey Williams, and Bell have all improved during their freshman seasons which is a credit to the coaches. Bell, in particular, is showing his Georgia performance may have been more of a breakthrough than a fluke, which is really exciting. But the team has to play smarter basketball if they want to become a consistent team, which they have the talent to do.
The loss drops Arkansas into a tie for 6th place with Tennessee. It will be a tie for 5th place if Missouri loses to Kentucky later tonight. There are five games remaining before the SEC tournament, so there's still a wide range of places for Arkansas to finish. The Razorbacks travel to LSU on Wednesday night, which, barring a huge upset against Missouri in Columbia, is an absolute must-win for the team to keep any reasonable NCAA hopes alive.