OPINION — Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: No matter what, Muss’ Hogs will play defense

All things considered, the media picking Arkansas to finish third in the SEC is about right.

The Razorbacks finished 10th last season but reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, which came after consecutive Elite Eight finishes the two previous seasons, which is a strong indication of Eric Musselman knowing when to get a team to shift into a higher gear.

According to someone close to the team (Musselman), this year's team will be a better outside shooting one. But like with most college teams anymore, the Hogs have several new players.

No matter how many times the five returning players say it, the new guys won't really get it until practice starts and maybe not until game time.

Musselman runs an NBA-style offense and an in-your-face lock-down defense.

If you don't play defense, you don't play.

The current roster has players from 10 states including four from Arkansas. There are seven seniors including Davonte Davis from Jacksonville, who was named second-team preseason All-SEC.

Trevon Brazile, a 6-10 redshirt sophomore, was named to the first team. He played in the first nine games last season before a knee injury ended his season.

A transfer from Missouri, Brazile was averaging 11.6 points and six rebounds per game before the injury. He was one of the Razorbacks' better outside shooters.

Tennessee was picked to finish No. 1 in the SEC, and it is easy to see why.

It took Rick Barnes two recruiting classes to get the Vols going. But in the last six years, they have gone 144-57 overall, 72-34 in SEC play, and have made the NCAA Tournament every year but 2020 when it was cancelled.

Texas A&M was picked second and then came the usual No. 1 Kentucky at No. 4 and Alabama rounded out the top five.

Arkansas has two exhibition games, the first Friday night against Texas-Tyler and the second is against Purdue on Oct. 28 at Walton Arena.

That game is not part of the season-ticket package because it is to raise money for relief efforts for those affected by last March's tornado in Little Rock.

. . .

The University of Arkansas-Little Rock men's team was picked to finish seventh in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll with Morehead State getting the No. 1 spot.

The prediction here is the Trojans will not only win the OVC, but will be the second team from Arkansas playing in the NCAA Tournament.

In the offseason, Trojans Coach Darrell Walker and top assistant Charles Baker upgraded their roster with several new players, including KK Robinson, who previously played at Arkansas and Texas A&M, and Makhel Mitchell, who played for the Razorbacks last season.

DeAntoni Gordon was named to the preseason All-OVC team.

The roster includes five international players, who are usually good shooters.

. . .

Arkansas State was picked to finish ninth in the Sun Belt Conference men's preseason poll with James Madison getting the No. 1 spot.

ASU's Terrance Ford Jr. and Freddy Hicks were named to the preseason third team.

James Madison's football team is one of 10 undefeated FBS teams in the country. Of that 10, four are in the Big Ten and two are in the ACC, so the number of teams without a loss is going lower.

. . .

Nathan Brown, head football coach for the Central Arkansas Bears, will be the featured speaker at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday.

The Bears are riding a four-game winning streak. Their 5-2 record is strong, considering the losses were to Oklahoma State and FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, and both games were played on the road.

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