Sunday, February 3, 2008

Arkansas kicks Florida to the curb. Vols handle Dawgs.

I said just below that the Gates were not as good as their shiny new #20 ranking, but I do believe that they are much better than they showed in the 19-point drubbing they just took in Fayetteville. I predicted and Arkansas victory, but I most surely didn't expect a blowout, and the final score does not even come close to reflecting the absolute domination the Razorbacks visited upon the hapless Gators.

GatorPilot at Orange and Blue Hue has this:

When the shots don’t drop, this team will lose. When young teams get behind, things can occasionally snowball. That is what happened for this group today. Arkansas starts three seniors and have lights-out sophomore guard in Patrick Beverly. They showed why they were a pre-season SEC contender and they were in top form today. With the two-time defending national champs in the building, the crowd was loud and wanted blood.
I think he is exactly right. The Gators just threw in a clunker this game, much like Vanderbilt did in the O-Dome last weekend. They are young and tender, and the tough, grizzled old Razorbacks just took them to the woodshed. Florida will have a few games like that one this year, and they really must improve their defensive intensity.

Mlmintampa at Alligator Army sees it this way:

I think it's significant to mention this today because while Arkansas is not back at the level of "40 Minutes Of Hell", their defense is good enough, with a home crowd, to stop UF's offense. Is Florida better than the Hogs? Maybe. Records say yes but Arkansas has an RPI of 41 with a SOS of 61. The Gators are 43 and a SOS of 150. We again are having the same conversation we had before the Kentucky game; who is better? A tested team or a talented team?

There is really no knowing the answer to his question, but a lot can be said for experience. Talent is important, but you have to suffer a few depredations at the hands of SEC foes before you can really toughen up enough to be a major force in this league. Florida probably needed this lesson, and may be better for it. Eventually.

So far, nothing really out there from the Razorback faithful. I'll try to catch that up later.

Moving on to the Tennessee vs. Mississippi State game, I called this one much more correctly scorewise. I didn't see the game like I did the previous one. However, a perusal of the statistics provides some insights:

  • Turnovers -- Tennessee forced the bulldogs into almost 24% turnovers. Unlike most teams who don't always hurt you off turnovers, the Volunteers almost always do. Here is a classic example -- MSU scored 8 points off 13 UT turnovers. The Vols scored 18 points off 16 MSU turnovers. The ten point differential was more than enough to win the game for the Vols.
  • Three point shooting -- Tennessee put up 63 3-point shots, which effectively nullified MSU's great shot blocking. Even so, MSU blocked 10 shots, but that wasn't enough.
  • Free throw shooting -- In the end, when MSU came back by getting open looks in the half court and knocking down shots, they couldn't finish because they had trouble making free throws. MSU shot a dismal 59% from the line.

Not much so far from either team's bloggers (basketball just doesn't quite draw the immediate reaction that football does in the SEC), but I will update this post when we do have reaction.