Preview: Arkansas Razorbacks
Mike Anderson will have to rely on his highly recruited freshmen
2012-13: 19-13 (10-8 SEC)
In-conference offense: 0.97 points per possession (11th)
In-conference defense: 0.97 points allowed per possession (third)
In stops at UAB, Missouri and now Arkansas, Mike Anderson has excelled at running the pressure defense he learned as an assistant under Nolan Richardson in Fayetteville. Last season represented more of the same for the Razorbacks' coach, as his team forced SEC opponents to commit a turnover on 26 percent of their possessions, easily the highest figure in the conference.
In particular fans at Bud Walton Arena saw the "40 minutes of hell" style at its most hellacious, as visiting SEC teams coughed up the ball a whopping 29 percent of the time. However, takeaways were pretty much the sum total of the Hogs' defense in 2012-13. Arkansas allowed SEC opponents to score 1.31 points per effective (turnover-less) possession, a number that ranked 12th in the 14-team league. (Only Mississippi State and South Carolina fared worse.) Pressing teams customarily labor under a "feast or famine" stereotype that isn't always true. But in this case, it was dead-on.
A big part of that "famine" could be traced to the success enjoyed by SEC opponents from beyond the arc. Indeed, last season every 3-point attempt that occurred in an Arkansas game was bad news for Razorbacks fans, and it didn't matter whether that shot was being launched by the Hogs or by the opponent. Anderson's team ranked No. 14 in the SEC in 3-point accuracy in conference play. Coincidentally, Arkansas also ranked No. 14 in defensive 3-point field goal percentage. Fortunately for Hog Nation, there's a good deal of randomness baked into that second number, and the perimeter picture will likely brighten for the Razorbacks in 2013-14.
To read the complete 2013-14 preview article on Arkansas, plus gain access to previews for every Division I college basketball team, you must be an ESPN Insider.
2013-14 Insider College Hoops Preview
In the lead-up to the 2013-14 college basketball season, Insider is providing preview articles on every Division I team, as well as essays from Insider's analysts and experts.