Arkansas basketball fans should be thrilled to have Mike Anderson as coach


SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our  Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to  @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at  ericwbolin@gmail.com.

Question of the Day: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Explain to everyone that whines about Mike how impressive going to 3/4 NCAAT’s in the last four years is (especially compared to the last two regimes)?

— Nathan Morris (@nathanpmorris) March 14, 2018

(Just to be clear, this is Trent Shadid filling in for my colleague Eric Bolin to answer this question. Don’t worry, Bolin will be back Thursday.)

Not every Arkansas fan is going to be excited about having Mike Anderson as the Hogs basketball coach. Short of winning a national title, that’s probably always going to be the case.

But why? It can’t be anything more than having unrealistic expectations.

Nathan makes a great point with this question. What Anderson has done the last four seasons is impressive. Three NCAA Tournament berths over that time at Arkansas isn’t something just any coach could accomplish in this era.

Look at who preceded Anderson. Would you rather have Stan Heath or John Pelphrey? Sure, Anderson isn’t taking Arkansas to the heights Nolan Richardson once did. But that’s an extremely unfair expectation.

There have been no Sweet 16 appearances or SEC titles under Anderson. That’s probably where the frustration of some fans begins.

But there have been signs of promise. Arkansas has outplayed its seed in the SEC Tournament the last two seasons, making the finals in 2017 and semifinals this season. The Hogs almost snapped their Sweet 16 drought a year ago, pushing eventual champion North Carolina to the brink in the second round. Close doesn’t necessarily make fans feel good, but it beats a lot of the alternatives.

What’s most impressive about Anderson is the way his Arkansas teams have closed the regular season in recent years. The Hogs won six of their last eight regular-season games in the final month this season to go from bubble team to comfortably in the tournament. In 2017, the Razorbacks played their way off the bubble by winning six of their last seven. The same was true in 2015, when Arkansas won nine of its last 10 regular-season contests.

I’m guessing few coaches have had that sort of late-season consistency over the same time period.

The fans are hungry for a Sweet 16 appearance; that’s understandable. Maybe they’ll get it this season. Even if it doesn’t happen, Anderson has done a good job and there are plenty of reasons to appreciate him.

The post Arkansas basketball fans should be thrilled to have Mike Anderson as coach appeared first on SEC Country.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Tra Holder lands with 76ers Summer League team
Tra Holder lands with 76ers Summer League team

Former Arizona State star guard Tra Holder will get his crack at the NBA ranks after going undrafted. Holder was picked up by the Philadelphia 76ers to be a part of their Summer League team. From USA Today: Holder averaged 14.2 points over his final three seasons at ASU. The post Tra Holder lands with 76ers Summer League team appeared...
Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook wins Manning Passing Academy competition
Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook wins Manning Passing Academy competition

Wisconsin redshirt junior Alex Hornibrook could be in for a breakout season after leading the Badgers to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl win a year ago. He showcased his potential Saturday at the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State in Louisiana. Competing against some of the nation’s best quarterbacks, such...
Georgia’s best game ever? 2018 Rose Bowl most certainly in running
Georgia’s best game ever? 2018 Rose Bowl most certainly in running

Georgia’s Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma   is up for best game at the ESPY Awards next month.  We’ll find out if it takes the prize on July 18, but, regardless, it doesn’t get much better than winning the granddaddy of all bowl games  ...
4-star DT Denver Warren has 4 Big Ten teams in top 5
4-star DT Denver Warren has 4 Big Ten teams in top 5

Mason Gillis commits to Purdue: Boilermakers land 4-star PF
Mason Gillis commits to Purdue: Boilermakers land 4-star PF

More Stories