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Upsetters look soft of late


Brandon Moore's arrest early Sunday morning was just one more reason to hang your head over the floundering Hogs. Off-the-court issues are indicative of a general lack of focus, and I'm sure that Moore wasn't the only Razorback who drank away his sorrows after arriving back in Fayetteville late Saturday night. These guys spend a lot of time together. He was just the only one who got caught.

This column has a general policy against casting stones, but I can't help but wonder what exactly Moore was doing at 7:51 a.m. Ideally, he was rushing home to church after sleeping at a friend's house and just happened to be still drunk from the night before. An all-night binge would not bode well for the state of Razorback basketball, let alone Moore's personal health.

He didn't exactly give us quality offensive production against Florida, but he was on the floor longer than he had been in a while, and his nine minutes paid off with two steals. In general, I feel like he's been a solid bench player so far and shown a lot of potential. Though his numbers don't exactly tell you anything, his play off the bench has been crucial when the big guys get in foul trouble. Here's hoping he gets his head straight and gives himself a fair chance to become an important member of this squad.

I guess we did look better overall against Florida in the first half, but there still isn't much to smile about. For a while, it reminded me of Texas, where we hung around just long enough to go on a run and take over the game. Still, there are a number of problems on both sides of the ball.

Michael Sanchez's rebounding ability (and general athleticism) has always been an area of concern, but it's lately bordering on unacceptable. Notching one rebound against Ole Miss seemed like an off game, but his goose egg versus Florida boggles the mind. A legitimate 6'8”, Sanchez proved to be the only Razorback taking the floor that day who couldn't come up with the ball. He's going to have to find a way to justify his existence, and soon. He's built to wreak havoc, and until his skills improve, I'd suggest a player of his size play like a bull. Stay in foul trouble. Hell, foul out every game! Swing those elbows. If our starter can't give us boards, then he needs to split time with Marcus Monk and be downright mean under the basket.

In our backcourt, opponents must be grateful, because we're creating the perfect conditions for three-point shooting records. Wide-open looks abound. Meanwhile, Rotnei Clarke can't seem to pull the trigger. He must take more than two shots per game. He must move without the ball. He must be a knife-thrower in close games. Right now, he's doing none of these things, has gone completely quiet and there's no real reason to start him over a playmaker like Jason Henry, let alone a defender like Marcus Britt.

Pelphrey will have had a week to make adjustments before we take the floor at home against Auburn. Their record doesn't show it, but most of the Tigers' losses have been close. Their backcourt play is strong, starting four guards just like Mississippi State, and Tay Waller can sink threes. Sounds like a recipe for another home loss. I wouldn't be surprised to see a re-jiggered starting lineup for the game, maybe a new approach to defense. What I really want to see is more aggression, from pulling up when we get good looks to hitting the boards extra hard. It's time to get those elbows out.


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