Swany: The Razorbacks have had a great season, and are the number 3 seed in this region for a reason. Can you tell us what makes this roster tick, and how Arkansas is playing at such a high level?
Ben: When Arkansas is playing well, they are sharing the ball at a high rate. Musselman’s goal for the team each game is to have 200 passes. When that ball is really moving, good things are happening. The Razorbacks have been really good defensively during the last 15 games and that’s what has moved this team up a tier.
Swany: Eric Musselman is a very passionate and motiving guy, reminds us a lot of Coach Beard. How has he helped this program be at the top of the SEC conference?
Ben: Musselman and his staff are an upgrade in almost every area compared to the previous staff, but what really separates them is the scouting ability. The Arkansas players never enter a game unprepared. They may not execute a game plan perfectly, but it is never due to a lack of preparation. Musselman is known for having 10 to 15 huge poster boards all over the practice gym. Each board is dedicated to a different opposing player with statistics and tendencies listed there.
Swany: Arkansas has an offense that is dangerous and they can score in waves. They are killer from 3 point land, who does Texas Tech need to watch out for on the court when they catch fire?
Ben: 2 guys come to mind. First would be Moses Moody. He will be a lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft. He’s an outstanding shooter off the catch, jab step, or even pump fake. He is sneaky good from the mid range too. Second would be JD Notae. Now his numbers don’t scream that he’s a great 3-point shooter, but he is a microwave. There isn’t a shot that he doesn’t like. If he catches fire he can score 20 points in a half easily.
Swany: Is there a weakness in the Razorbacks game that you’ve seen exposed during the few losses on the season?
Ben: Point Guard play can be an issue with this team. Starting PG Jalen Tate has struggled when his defender gets in his face and is physical with him the entire game. In early January, it was a nightmare from that position. Tate has been much better of late against tough defense. The Hogs have a hard time getting into sets when this happens. It affects the entire offense. A physical big man has also given Arkansas problems this year.
Swany: Alright, how is this game going to play out? You’ve got the Tech great defense versus the excellent Arkansas offense. What’s your prediction for the game?
Ben: I see this game being all about extra opportunities. Who turns the ball over more? Who allows the most offensive rebounds? Arkansas has been a sneaky good defensive team, but their fast pace has twisted those numbers a bit. Arkansas has won games at slower paces this year, but this one will be an absolutely rock fight. Arkansas has the size advantage in this game so I think they win the battle of the boards which will be just enough to sneak past Texas Tech. I don’t feel strongly about the pick because this could truly go either way. We are in for a treat.
Swany: A huge thanks to Ben for getting with us on short notice and helping us out with this Q&A. You can follow him on twitter at @BenBrandonHoops or go check out his stuff over on ArkansasFight.com. Can’t wait for the battle on Sunday!