If you're looking for a scapegoat for today's miserable loss to Georgia, I'm your guy.
That's right: I'm to blame. I attended the game, and clearly my presence messed with the Hogs' mojo. They played so well in the two tournament games that I was unable to go to. The connection is obvious, and I'm now wearing my horsehair shirt.
First things first: Congratulations to the Georgia Bulldogs. That was an incredible tournament run. What a story. They certainly deserve all of the attention and praise they are getting tonight. (And being surrounded by Georgia fans here in Atlanta, that's not the easiest thing for me to say.)
Many people have probably already made this comment, but Arkansas looked like it was the team that had played two games on Saturday. For most of the afternoon, the Hogs looked a step or two slow, and they just got manhandled on the offensive boards (Georgia pulled down 12 to the Hogs' 6). I don't know if they were just spent after Saturday's victory or if they didn't take Georgia seriously enough, but they were the (bi)polar opposite of the team that upset UT.
I'm ready to forget about this game, but before I do a few observations:
* A Pressing Matter. Like most of the Razorback fans that I sat with at the game, I was kind of puzzled that the Hogs didn't press in the first half. They are clearly the deeper team, plus they were the better rested team. Georgia is on such an insane roll right now that it might not have made a difference, but I don't think the Hogs did a good job early on of maximizing their advantages.
* 15-8. The former is the number of Razorback turnovers today, the latter the number of assists. Ugh.
* Asleep at the Switch. How many times have you seen the opposing team inbound the ball under its own basket and get a dunk or an easy lay-up off the inbounds pass? That seems to occur with alarming frequency in Razorback games and happened several times today. It's not good for the blood pressure.
* What if They Gave a War and Nobody Came? The legions of 1960s anti-war activists who read this blog will recognize that saying. It's one that popped into my mind while at today's game. It was surreal to be at the SEC Tournament championship game, one that was being beamed to a national television audience, and see so few people in the stands (the official attendance was listed at 3,700). In a way, though, it was pretty cool.
And the small crowd made plenty of noise. If you closed your eyes, you would have thought the arena was packed.
* Overall, Though, Not a Bad Weekend. Don't let the sheer ugliness of today's loss obscure the fact that the Hogs had a pretty nice weekend, all things considered. They arrived in Atlanta uncertain of an NCAA bid, proceeded to beat two Top 20 teams one of which was the No. 4 team in the country) and now find themselves with a No. 9 seed. We've all grown accustomed to this team's bipolar quality. Obviously, we'd all love for them to be capable of longer stretches of excellence, but they are what they are.
The good Hogs left Atlanta one day too soon. Let's just hope they headed up to Raleigh.(more at www.razorbackexpats.com)