RazorbacksSports

Arkansas Razorback Basketball

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – Given his list of walking wounded from injuries it seemed Arkansas Basketball Coach Eric Musselman would find a silver lining regarding last Saturday’s game vs. Texas A&M postponed at Walton Arena.

He didn’t. 

Musselman prefers scheduling rhythm and doesn’t ask and doesn’t ask for anything more.

 The postponement, because of the Aggies’ covid-19 issues halted their travel plans from College Station, Texas to Fayetteville. It extended the Razorbacks’ healing time between last Tuesday’s 61-45 SEC success over Mississippi State  at Walton to their next SEC game Tuesday night at Kentucky’s Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.

Unlike the Aggies, who also had to postpone last Wednesday’s SEC game with Vanderbilt because of too many  positive covid tests, the Razorbacks practiced Saturday covid free, but were gimped nonetheless.

Junior guard Desi Sills still couldn’t properly raise his arm from the shoulder injury sidelining from the first half on against Mississippi State.

Freshman reserve forward Jaylin Williams “gutted it out,” Musselman said playing nine minutes against Mississippi State despite “a deep bone bruise”  in his kneesuffered during the previous Saturday’s 8I-77 SEC vs. Big 12 Challenge loss at Oklahoma State.

Freshman starting guard Moses Moody played 38 minutes against Mississippi State despite spraining an ankle during the Sunday practice after Saturday’s Oklahoma State game.

Graduate transfer starting forward Justin Smith always can use between games time off playing on a surgically repaired ankle that idled him four early January SEC games after injuring it during the SEC season opening victory Dec. 30 at Auburn.

Musselman before Saturday’s practice was asked to update on his four on the mend.

“If we had to play today (Saturday)  I would assume Desi would not play,” Musselman said.  “I would assume Jaylin Williams probably wouldn’t play and if he did it would be for five to 10 minutes like it was last game.  But his mobility would be hampered.  I would think that Justin would play.  And then Moses seemed to be moving  better yesterday (Friday) than prior so I would think he would be fine.”

Kentucky played the SEC late game Saturday night losing, 82-71 to Tennessee  at Rupp, but Musselman maintains fretting his team  becoming rusted from so rested.

“One-thousand percent,” Musselman said Saturday.  “I am concerned because we’re a little bit out of rhythm and not playing the game. It’s hard to get a team overly excited to practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, although we took Wednesday off. That’s a long stretch. Even if we would have played on Wednesday, it’s a shorter turnaround Wednesday to Tuesday, but this is a long stretch. We’re not accustomed to having this much time between games.”

Questions Saturday persisted what about Kentucky playing three consecutively nationally ranked SEC opponents: No. 10 Alabama, No. 18 Missouri and No. 11 Tennessee?

“I’m concerned that they (his Razorbacks) are  not getting live action against that stuff, maybe moreso than Kentucky’s difficult stretch from a schedule standpoint,” Musselman replied.

KEEPING BARRY

For the second consecutive year since hiring former Missouri Head Football Coach Barry Odom  as his Arkansas offensive coordinator, going into his second year Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman has felt compelled to request Athletic Director Hunter  Yurachek provide Odom a healthy raise countering offers from other schools, this year reportedly Texas and LSU.

 “I think, in coaching, it’s big whenever you keep whoever you want to keep,” Pittman said.  “Barry was one of those guys. He’s a very, very important part of our football staff. If that can be an easy thing to get done, Barry Odom would be the guy that you can get it done with. Barry and I have a strong friendship and those things happen. Thank goodness for Hunter Yurachek. I called him and explained the situation, and it might’ve been a 15-20 minute deal and it was done.”

This year it stays done, Pittman said.

 “The greatest thing you can say about Barry is you can trust him,” Pittman said. “Once he says, ‘Hey I’m going to  stay,’ you know that’s what he’s going to do. I never once worried about whomever (was calling) because he was going to get offers every year.  You want other teams to want your coaches. Barry’s going to get that every year and we’ll sit here next year and we’ll have to deal with it again. I’m sure we’ll deal with it next year but I’m sure as heck glad that we have him and we deal with those issues than if we didn’t.”

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