Scouting Arkansas: 10 things to know, 3 keys to Seton Hall victory

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Most Seton Hall fans are unlike Khadeen Carrington: they were not able to see Arkansas play as recently as Saturday and probably unable to all season.

Like you, I haven’t seen the Razorbacks play since they bowed out to North Carolina in the second round of the 2014-15 tournament as a five-seed. But I have compiled 10 quick-hitting facts about former Missouri coach Mike Anderson’s team and three keys for Seton Hall victory below.

10 things to know

1) Anderson is in his sixth year at Arkansas but was also an assistant for an incredible 17 years (1985-02) under the coveted Nolan Richardson era though he left for UAB just prior to their 1993-94 national title.

2) Arkansas has been held to 65 points or less over their last three losses and are 15-0 when scoring 80 or more points; the Razorbacks are 26th in offensive efficiency and 95th in tempo.

3) Utilizing a deeper nine-man rotation, Anderson has used the same starting five for Arkansas’ last eight games. Expect a three-guard, two-forward look to begin with a pair of forwards and guards coming off the bench.

4) Class-wise, Arkansas is more-veteran than Seton Hall as they have eight juniors or seniors that pitch in while guard Anton Beard (7.4 ppg), center Moses Kingsley (11.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.6 bpg), and wing Manuale Watkins (6.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg) all have an NCAA win under their belt with Arkansas’ 2015 tournament team.

5) Like Seton Hall to a degree, Arkansas has no true standout point guard and instead rely on assists by committee: Daryl Macon (13.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg) leads the team with 2.2 assists per game; five guys average 1.6 or more.

6) While the Hall has a bunch of talent from the NY/NJ area, this truly is an SEC team they are facing. On their official roster, here is the hometown breakdown by state: AR (6), AL (1), LA (1), Tenn (1), Mo (1), TX (1), IN (1), INT’L (1)

7) Most schools have more options from long range than Seton Hall, but that doesn’t look to be the case with Arkansas. They have three, maybe four guys who are dangerous from three, which they don’t rely on heavily (309th). Macon (62/162, 38%); leading scorer Dusty Hannahs (70/184, 38%); Anton Beard (30/85, 35%); Jaylen Barford (28/102, 27%).

8) Arkansas has two players who shoot over 87-percent from the line and are effective there as a result: 22-percent of their points (50th) come from the stripe where they shoot 76-percent (25th) as a group.

9) Measuring in at 6-foot-10, the second Kingsley center that Seton Hall will see this year (Kingsley Okoroh, Cal.) sports the 20th-best block percentage in the country and was also thrown out of the SEC title game for a nasty flagrant two.

10) Despite their higher tempo and lack of a true point guard, Arkansas does not turn the ball over much (44th) although they are highly prone to offensive rebounds (326th) and as a side-effect, long defensive possessions which can favor Seton Hall.

Three keys to victory:

Slow the pace and play Seton Hall basketball. Arkansas will want to push the tempo and play at a speed which is comfortable to them while the Pirates are more than O.K. with a game in the 60s that resembles something we saw at the Big East Tournament; the Razorbacks are undefeated when they reach the 80-point threshold. There’s usually no stopping a team that wants to play fast completely — focus on how and how effectively Seton Hall tries to pump the brakes.

The battle in the paint. In more than one way, the interior battle will reign supreme on Friday afternoon. Arkansas will look to try and get into it to draw fouls and get to the line while Moses Kingsley vs. Angel Delgado will be a physical match-up that you wont want to miss. Unlike Marquette and Villanova, Seton Hall will be afforded the chance to collapse their defense just a hair to protect the interior; a hobbled but recovering Ish Sanogo will remain a key figure in the Hall’s defensive effort.

A major key to disrupting Arkansas’ style will be offensive rebounds. And thankfully for Seton Hall, that is something they are pretty good (24th) at doing. Defending their own glass is one of Arkansas’ lone statistical weaknesses and what can be more debilitating than having to defend on multiple possessions in a row? Seton Hall did a good job of crashing the boards with Mike Nzei, Sanogo, and of course Delgado in New York — those three guys will need to do the same to stop a Razorback attack before it gets started.

  • Is anyone else having the problem that this and the previous story got shoved underneath the “Selection Sunday open thread” article on the main page? I keep refreshing the page not seeing anything new at the top, before realizing that the new posts are there, just not at the top.

    • Should be good now, no? Was a temporary thing — I had a few posts “stickied” to the top of the page and I just changed it around 10 minutes ago.

      Looks fine for me on a few devices.

      • Just checked and it’s fine now, yes. Thanks!

  • Andrew Herbst

    I like our chances in this game. I think our bigs will be able to them inside. Just need to play our game and attack the boards. Hopefully we’ll be able to control the tempo and slow it down. If we are able to do that, we’ll be in good shape. GO PIRATES

  • Mosleyman

    For anyone with the time and inclination, there’s lots of video of 2017 Arkansas games on Youtube. I haven’t looked at any of it yet, but I’ll probably check out some of it before Friday.

    • PadrePirate

      Just watched the vs. Kentucky game (see post above). More to watch. Looks like a physical, athletic group. Senior-heavy team should be very hungry, this being their last chance to play.

    • Matty P

      Thank you Chris!

    • Coach Mike

      Chris – I’m in.

  • Jersey Jerry

    So I do this thing on FB each day that I call “Today in History ~ U didn’t ask but now U know” … I would normally post something from the History Page that I think my followers would enjoy knowing about. Today’s post was a little different and I’d like to share it with everyone … tks for your indulgence!

    Today in History ~ U didn’t ask but now U know!!!

    March 14, 1953 was the day that I first went to the Historic 8th Avenue Arena (Madison Square Garden). Seton Hall was playing in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) vs St. John’s in the Championship Game and the Hall beat the Redmen (their name at the time; now the Red Storm) 58-46. Walter Dukes led the Hall with 21 points and 20 rebounds and was the MVP of the Tournament, which at the time was a more prestigious Championship that winning the NCAA’s.
    I know no one else cares about my alma mater Seton Hall; however, today is the day in history that Seton Hall University won, what was then, the National Championship Game in college basketball. GO PIRATES!!!

    • VinBick

      Jerry, you and I are probably close in age. On the 23rd I will be 73 going on nine. Jerry Lewis always said that nine was the perfect age because one does not get into too much trouble, but is old enough to enjoy being bad. My choice of the ideal situation in life. I followed the Seton Hall successes back in the early 50’s growing up in Union City. Enrolled in the Hall in the fall of ’62 as a result. Most fans are unaware of our rich history as a basketball power. Walter Dukes was whacked in the head with a lead arm rail in Louisville, Kentucky leaving the court after a Seton Hall win there.

      We got the brunt of the bad publicity with the point-shaving scandal in the early 60’s when Jerry Isenberg broke the story about Gunther and Hicks doing the perp walk off of the South Orange campus that was splashed on the front of either Look or Life magazine nationally. Other schools had players who helped the mob and their bookies, but Seton Hall was the headline school.

      Everyone should enjoy the success of this team and the positive image it projects for our small, Catholic university in New Jersey. We have the potential to once again be a respected, national powerhouse for years to come. Go Pirates!

    • hallstorm

      Well, I’m familiar with Seton Hall’s prestige during the 50’s. My dad attended the school during the mid-late 50’s (and went back for a brad degree in the 60’s) and never failed to tell my brother and I about the deep tradition of the school’s basketball prowess. Thank you for your post Jerry.

      And yes-he would always remind us that the NIT was the powerhouse teams in the Northeast and was considered more telling of the best talent in college basketball.

  • PadrePirate

    27min highlight version of Arkansas’ loss to KU in the SEC finals on youtube worth watching. They look very athletic. That Macon is going to be tough to guard; takes it hard to the rim (Desi style). Kingsley was on the all-defensive team. Could be trouble for Angel. With their depth and our poor FT’s, they’ve got fouls to give at the 4/5. I could see them coming out very aggressive 1H in the post without much to lose. Their perimeter D looked pretty porous, but KU spreads the floor well. Should be a dog fight.

  • SHU95

    Great retweet on Chris’ feed from the NY Post article on Shaheen Holloway. You could make a very strong case that nobody has had a greater impact on SHU in the past 20 years than coach ‘Sha’. At the time he committed to SHU, he was the unquestioned Top recruit in the NYC area. I remember watching Mike Quick- whose show was the go to for HS players to Announce back in the 90’s …LONG before twitter. Holloway stunned everyone by putting on an SH cap instead of Duke where he was assumed/predicted to go. He was the Top commit out of HS to our program ever, at the time, perhaps even still. The later could be argued, but the bottom line is, He was a brilliant and gifted PG, Lightning quick, adept passer, and could score at will. He did not have a lot of help for the majority of his playing time here, unfortunately, but got to the NCAA’s his senior year and made the most of it by going coast to coast in about 5 seconds to beat Oregon at the buzzer. One of the great moments in SHU history. His work on out coaching staff and recruiting efforts show the love he has for SHU. I am glad he is still heavily involved with the program, and I sincerely hope he gets his shot. Great Pirate!!

    • shufaninva

      I hope Duval puts that SHU cap on instead on the Blue Devil one.

    • DougFlynn

      Hello SHU 95.

      I agree with you on Shaheen’s impact, but with a couple of caveats. And I am also glad that he is still a part of SHU after 20 years!

      At the time of his recruitment, the top recruit in NJ, and possibly the country was Tim Thomas, out of Paterson Catholic. I also watched the Mike Quick announcement on MSG. When Shaheen announced for SHU, I thought we’d get Thomas too, but he opted for Villanova and, as I recall was a one and done. Shaheen was a terrific player. I think Rimas was on his teams as was Jacky Kaba and several other guys who could play. He was a terrific college PG, maybe a little undersized for the NBA, but quick enough and a great dribbler to play anywhere. He was not a great outside shooter. I remember seeing him in the BET one year at MSG and a guy on Providence, I think, literally fell down on the court when he crossed him over.

      I’d also contend that the late Eddie Griffin was the highest rated SHU recruit ever. He was consensus #1 in the US.

      • hallstorm

        Well….I wouldn’t say Jacky Kaba was a guy that could play. I do think Donnell Harvey could have been a lot better, but he never panned out. Kelland Payton was also a guy who had promise, but wasn’t quite there. And I always loved Level Sanders. I don’t know how great he was coming out of high school, but he was a pretty good college player.

        If memory serves me correctly, Tim Thomas was quite close to choosing Seton Hall and wavered at the end. We were very, very close to getting the National Gatorade POY. He was absolutely a one-and-done (to be trumped by Al Harrington spurning The Hall and jumping straight to college the following year. He had outwardly lamented what could have been on the 99-2000 team had he opted for college…).

        Eddie Griffin was usually deemed the no. 2 overall player out of Roman Catholic (I remember Roman Catholic because I went to college with a friend of mine who graduated from there. The head case Rasheed Wallace pre-dated Griffin by about 5 years. Talk about a high school having difficulty with disciplining their players….).

        As for Griffin, he became a well-known cautionary tale regarding his drinking issues, but there is speculation that North Carolina backed off after his senior year lunch room altercation. I believe he punched some kid over fight one afternoon. Obviously, he carried that same aggression over and at Ty Shine and co. during his one year here.

        I loved Holloway and was glad he came, but I think his daughter that he had in high school helped make his decision a little easier for him to stay close to home. That isn’t to say that PJ wouldn’t have gotten him, but Blaney wasn’t PJ despite his Jersey City playground-legend status. He was never fit to coach above Holy Cross or any mid-major. It’s why Calhoun had him at his side for so long and he never went back to a head coaching position.

        All this being said, SHU95 is correct to say Shaheen was the top recruit to commit to SHU “at the time” (Griffin wouldn’t arrive on campus until Holloway had just left….)

        • DougFlynn

          I can’t disagree with any of this – and did not mean to say that Holloway had the same level of supporting cast as others did (see my above post). Donnell Harvey? That is a name I have not heard in a long time.

          Griffins’ brother dying had a lot to do with what happened to him. Also, who really knows about the financial stress that a kid like that gets from family and friends. I remember the issue with Shaheen’s daughter and how that played into his recruitment. There is always some issue that makes someone decide one way or the other.

          Finally, I absolutely agree with your assessment of George Blaney. Very nice man, but the Big East of those years required recruiting skills very different from that of say, Holy Cross or similar school.

          In any event, I am very glad Shaheen came back to SHU and hope he stays there for many years.

          • hallstorm

            I hear you. You could be right about Griffin’s financial considerations. It’s just such as incredibly sad scenario given the ending circumstances. Talk about a gigantic talent. I always wondered whether Amaker ever reached out to him during his nadir (which seemed aplenty and coupled with the Luther Wright gas station incident insofar as Seton Hall alumni, it seemed as though these inner city kids were so misguided).

            And I really feel grateful Shaheen is on the staff. I think he’ll get interviews again this year and I selfishly hope he still stays. Maybe Barrett or Harvey or Copeland or one of the great past guards would take his place alongside Williard, Billmeier and Hill.

          • DougFlynn

            Wow – I hope Amaker reached out to Eddie Griffin. Hopefully that kind of coach – college player relationship transcends a coaches employment situation.

            I remember watching Griffin play and thinking – if you put Jerry Walkers head onto Griffins body, you’d have the greatest big man ever to play.

            Hopefully Shaheen gets to be a head coach one day if that is what he wants. Certainly he has become a good enough recruiter to be successful. Barrett as a coach would be interesting. I know he was a good student and saw him playing in the NBA D League just a couple of years ago.

          • hallstorm

            By all accounts, I don’t want to raise conjecture and impose pejorative regarding Amaker’s name. Maybe he did. I don’t know-I just never read anything regarding it and he bolted very quickly to Michigan when offered the job.

            And yeah-I just thought Barrett would be perfect. He shuttled a few times between the D-league and Houston I know. After that, I kind of lost any trace of where he went. I would love to see him in Sha’s place should Sha jump to a HC position.

            That being said, I really wonder if KW has an inkling of his ideal coaching job. We would all love to think Seton Hall would be it-especially with all the effort and energy put into connections he has made around the area.

          • DougFlynn

            When I saw Barrett on television a couple of years back, he was playing for the Knicks D-league team in Westchester. He’s probably in his mid 30’s now, so I would think he’s done, although I suppose he could be outside the US still playing. Another terrific guard – just a little too small for the NBA.

            On Willard, I suspect we will all know his intentions after next year. Assuming Delgado returns (I hope so for everyone’s sake including Angel), and he can get a PG in recruiting, this is a tournament team next season. Then, when this junior class graduates, it might be time for him to make a decision. Something tells me he could stay though. As you say, he is a known guy in metro NYC now – between Iona and SHU, he’s been in the area here for a decade. Hopefully his family likes the area as well. Continuity breeds success.

      • SHU95

        I remember the whole Tim Thomas thing well, I guess not well enough! I was thinking when I wrote it that Thomas was a year behind Shaheen, but Yes, No Question he was the Top Recruit in the Nation. I do stick by my assertion that Sha Did Not have strong supporting Cast for the most part. Rimas Develped into a real good player over time… and I’ll leave it there as the point was to Praise Shaheen and not necessarily to Bash anyone else…

        Eddie Griffin was A great talent, I am glad he played here for a year and as well all know his life ended tragically. He was a Top recruit, if not # 1 by most experts at the time… I just don’t think in his time here that he had the impact that Holloway had during his playing time. In fairness, Eddie never got the chance to impact SHU after his playing days so, for me, looking at the playing Career only, I have to give the edge to Holloway, but as I said in my original post, certainly arguable.
        Thanks for the reply! Go Pirates!!

        • DougFlynn

          SHU95, I completely agree that Shaheen did not have a great supporting cast. Imagine if he had played with Griffin, Walker or Mark Bryant, for example, even for one year. I also agree that in terms of a career, Sha’s playing career was way more impactful than Eddie Griffin’s. No doubt Griffin had the size and talent, but was only there 1 year.

  • Matty P

    One thing I’m wondering is if Arkansas will increase Kingsley’s minutes for the tournament or if they will keep him at his 27.4 mins per game average. He very rarely went up to or over 30 mins in a game (8 times this season). If he does play around his average that means that Delgado could have between 5-10 mins where he should be able to dominate in the post.

  • Matty P

    Little throwback clip that ESPN posted of an intro to discuss the 1981 NCAA tournament with Bob Ley, Dick Vitale, and Bill Raftery.

  • Fishjam

    I’ve been watching video on Arkansas and chatted with one of their fans to get some perspective. They are a good team and will be a big challenge for us. They are a veteran team with a lot of transfers in their Junior or Senior seasons. They play 9 players – 5 shooting guards and 4 PFs and their typical 5 on the court are 3 Guards and 2 Bigs. With that depth they will look to apply some full-court pressure and half-court trap at times. They are a very good FT shooting team.

    They don’t have a true PG but they share the ball pretty well. Willard compared them to Creighton and they do resemble them a bit post-Watson. 2 of their guards are solid 3-pt shooters (37-40%) and will fire if they get a decent look but their offense is mostly about pushing tempo and looking to penetrate. All of their guards are solid at driving and in the mid-range game and they are good in transition. Their big man is an OK post player but not great offensively.

    They lack a true Small Forward as 4 of their guards are 6’3 and 1 is 6’0″. So look for Desi to have an advantage posting up and attacking. However one of those guards, Manny Watkins is 6’3″ 230 with long arms with some physicality, kind of reminds me of Roosevelt Jones. He will likely guard Desi.

    Kingsley is a true PF/C kind of in the Chris Silva mode but older and stronger. He and Angel will be a good matchup. Kingsley is a better athlete and much better shot-blocker but Angel is better in every other regard. I feel we can pressure Kingsley when he gets the ball as he is impulsive and we should be able to force TOs.They have another solid big in Thompson who is a good athlete, solid in all areas but not a scorer. The other 2 are depth types similar to Nzei.

    Dusty Hannahs is a Senior guard (6’3 210) who averages 15 ppg and can score on all 3 levels. Good 3-pt shooter, good basketball IQ and good at creating shots for himself off the dribble. Daryl Macon is a Junior Juco transfer (6’3 185) averages 14 ppg, streaky shooter and can slash. Both are 85-90% FT shooters. Jaylen Barford (13 ppg) is also a Juco transfer (6’3 210), He’s not a good 3-pt shooter but is a physical slasher who can score on the drive.

    They like to pressure on D and are quick to help on defense meaning if we pass the ball and are aggressive we should be able to find open looks pretty easily. Won’t be easy but I think it’s a solid matchup for us and if we play good defense and limit the bad TOs we should be able to win. Have to be smart how we attack Kingsley as sometimes we allow shot-blockers to intimidate us. I think we’ll be ready to go and take it to the Hogs.

    • PadrePirate

      Thanks for the rundown Fish. My first impression too was a physical athletic team who likes to drive and pound the paint. I’m afraid their athletic bigs could give Angel trouble or get him two early fouls. Shot blockers like Johnnies can intimidate our guards like in the bad road loss. Of the BE teams, they look like Creighton but much more physical or Gtown with a faster tempo. Looks like a tough match up. Should be a good game.

    • LBP

      I respect and appreciate Fishjam’s evaluations more than just about anyone . I sense, tho he is even-handed and reserved, he believes as I do that Hall will spank the Razorbacks. His review has fired me up- I’m ready to dip into the Grandkids college Fund to back our Pirates ( by the time my Grandkids get to college, that which I have put any may not be milk money). Lets Go Pirates

  • Matty P

    If anyone’s interested here’s a link with the interview done by Mike Francesca with Kevin Willard.

    • Rich Ricci

      That interview could have been a lot better if it was with anyone else expect that big windbag, Mike Francesa! As always, he continues to ask the same question over and over in different ways and seems to love hearing himself pontificate rather than let the guest have a chance to speak without being interrupted. The best interviewers know how to ask probing questions, then step back in silence while the person being interviewed is free to make his point, which is the whole point of the interview, but that never happens with Francesa!! The sooner he leaves the Fan, the better off they’ll be!!

      • Joe J

        The interview would have been better if Francessa had watched a few Seton Hall games this year. He knows as much about this Hall team as we know about any team in the Chinese Basketball League.

      • Matty P

        Agreed, I’m not a fan of his either. Felt that during the interview he kept talking over Willard instead of listening to him and either following up on the topic or bringing up another question.

  • VinBick

    Let’s dream. The Hall beats both Arkansas and North Carolina tomorrow and Sunday. Now that will be a big boost to the program, right? Stranger things have happened in college basketball. That will attract a talented point guard to South Orange.

  • fouline

    It’s good to see all the love from the local news outlets. WFAN, Mike, Joe&Evan, Steve, Boomer&Carton, NYPost. NYDaily News. Everybody’s in. ‘Bout time, don’t you think?

  • LBP

    Pretty good crowd of Hall backers here at Atlantis-we are working up a froth and are convinced Hall will have a great day- Happy St Pats to all my Pirate Brothers and Sisters on this Board- Perfect Day to celebrate a Pirate victory ( I’m even going to be nice to Madison Jones)