Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Even though the Arkansas Razorbacks lost their top two scorers early to the NBA Draft, Mike Anderson returns enough depth to be competitive in the SEC. However, I think the Hogs will once again fall short of the NCAA Tournament due to a lack of proven scoring.
Last Season: 7th, 10-8 in SEC, 19-13 overall
Predicted SEC Finish: 8th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Bobby Portis (Fr)/Moses Kingsley (Fr)
F: Coty Clarke (Sr)/Alandise Harris (Jr)/Jacorey Williams (So)
SG: Rashad Madden (Jr)/Michael Qualls (So)
SG: Rickey Scott (Sr)/Anthlon Bell (So)/Kikko Haydar (Sr)
PG: Mardracus Wade (Sr)/Fred Gulley (Sr)/DeQuavious Wagner (So)
Gone: G-B.J. Young, PF-Marshawn Powell, F/C- Hunter Mickelson (transfer-Kansas)
Under now third year head coach Mike Anderson, the Arkansas Razorbacks have yet to fully take advantage of his “40 Minutes of Hell” style of basketball. While the depth is there this year, there is the major concern of who emerges as a go-to scorer since B.J. Young and Marshawn Powell accounted for nearly 30 points per game.
Undersized power forward Coty Clarke is the team’s top returning scorer despite averaging just 7.6 points per game a year ago. He figures to be pushed for playing time by Houston transfer Alandise Harris and the talented freshmen duo of Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley. Harris averaged about 13 points and 6 boards per game during his sophomore year with the Cougars but is also undersized at 6-6.
Portis is a McDonald’s All-American who is an inside/outside threat with terrific athleticism. He should see a heavy dose of court time right away while Kingsley figures to earn immediate playing time also due to his tenacity in the paint. Jacorey Williams was seldom used a year ago and should playing time even more difficult to come by this season.
There are a handful of guards who logged decent minutes last year so Anderson should have a plethora of fresh bodies to utilize his up-tempo style of play. Mardracus Wade, Rickey Scott, Rashad Madden, Fred Gulley, and Kikko Haydar all bring experience to the floor while Michael Qualls and Ahtlon Bell also each cracked the rotation as freshmen.
While there are plenty of bodies in the mix at guard, there is no lead man who can take over at crunch time. Bell might be the most capable scorer of the bunch but saw the least playing time of the seven guys last season. It is both a blessing and a curse to have that many guys able to play quality minutes and Anderson might have to resort to riding the hot hand on a game-by-game basis if somebody doesn’t emerge as a legit double digit point scorer a night.
Anderson also picked up a transfer in West Virginia forward Keaton Miles. He didn’t wow anyone during his two years with the Mountaineers but his versatility and athleticism will fit well into the Hogs furious style of play once he becomes eligible in 2014-15.
Arkansas has a solid collection of decent players but I don’t see a committee approach being enough to get the Razorbacks into the NCAA Tournament. They need a player or two to step up into a main scoring option to have any chance of exceeding expectations.
Player to Watch: Bobby Portis
It would be a lot to ask of Portis to take over the the Hogs best player especially with an experienced group of guys surrounding him. However, he is easily the team’s most talented player. Whether or not it comes together during his first year at Arkansas is yet to be determined especially since he carry the lofty tag of being a McDonald’s All-American.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/18 vs. SMU
11/25 vs. California (Maui Invitational)
11/26 vs. Syracuse/Minnesota (Maui Invitational)
11/27 vs. Gonzaga/Dayton/Baylor/Chaminade (Maui Invitational)
12/7 vs. Clemson
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#70 Miami FL
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks