It was the kind of performance that can get a coach on the hot seat.
It doesn't matter if you are Josh Pastner at Georgia Tech, Danny Manning at Wake Forest, Chris Mullin at St. John's or Mike Anderson at Arkansas.
Losing winnable games turns the heat up. Not by every fan, but definitely some.
The University of Arkansas was leading at South Carolina 50-37 with 15:37 to play on Saturday. The Razorbacks were dominating the Gamecocks.
Suddenly there was no D in the Hogs defense and very little O in their offense.
For almost eight minutes the Razorbacks lived off of four free throws while missing six shots, turning the ball over twice and fouling three times. That is not winning basketball, and by the time they did get a field goal it cut South Carolina's lead to 59-57. The Razorbacks would tie it at 61-61 with 5:42 to play.
It appeared, at least momentarily, the momentum was swinging back toward the Razorbacks.
Instead, they closed the game out going 2-7 from the field, fouling three times and having two more turnovers.
Whatever South Carolina Coach Frank Martin screamed at halftime worked.
At intermission, the Razorbacks had 16 points off 15 Gamecocks turnovers and had outscored the home team in the paint 16-4. Plus they had 10 fast-break points.
In the second half the Hogs had nine points off six turnovers and South Carolina 12 off nine. The Gamecocks outscored the Razorbacks 20-10 in the paint and had eight fast-break points to none for Arkansas.
That was all by design. All of the announcers -- at the game and in the studio -- talked about Martin's halftime adjustments to beat Arkansas' defense and run plays for center Chris Silva and more open shots.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Razorbacks and dropped their NCAA NET Rankings from No. 58 to No. 62, and there's about as much chance of getting into the NCAA Tournament with a ranking above 60 as there is of President Trump and Nancy Pelosi sharing a bottle of Presqu'ile Pinot Noir wine in the White House Rose Garden.
Arkansas is now 14-9 and 5-5 in SEC, but it is not all gloom and doom if the Razorbacks can put Saturday's debacle behind them and move forward. The schedule is definitely in their favor. Here's a quick look at what they have left:
Tonight they are at Missouri, 11-11 overall, 2-8 in SEC play and tied for 11th place.
Then they host Mississippi State which is tied for ninth with an overall record of 16-7 and 4-6 in conference play. The Bulldogs are a respectable 3-3 in road games.
Next week it is at Auburn which is tied for seventh with the Hogs at 5-5 in SEC play and 16-7 overall. The Tigers are 12-1 at home.
Texas A&M, which the Razorbacks beat in College Station 73-71 is next, and the Aggies are tied for 11th with a 2-8 league record and 9-13 overall record. Head Coach Billy Kennedy is feeling the heat.
The following week the Razorbacks go to Kentucky which is undefeated at home, but this is one of those games that you just never know about until the final buzzer.
The Hogs host Ole Miss with a chance for some payback for the 84-67 loss in Oxford.
The Razorbacks finish at last-place Vanderbilt, 0-10 in SEC play, and then host Alabama. The Crimson Tide are 6-4 in SEC play and 15-8 overall, but they are 3-5 in road games.
If Arkansas forgets the South Carolina game and remembers how it played during the four-game win streak they win all their home games and two road games to finish 20-11 overall and 11-7 in SEC play.
That quiets the critics, at least for a while.
Sports on 02/12/2019
Print Headline: Hogs have favorable schedule down stretch