Arkansas’ NCAA Tournament loss leaves grief, questions

With your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points. There is no place like it on the Web.

The five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Sunday night into Monday morning, a good chunk of Arkansas sat in either of the first two stages. Denial being the No. 8-seed Razorbacks would have beaten top-seeded North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night had it not been for the officiating.

Anger being that the officiating was so bad the Razorbacks deserved better.

As Monday waxed on, bargaining began to set in. And it might last a while. Two Arkansas juniors have decisions to make this offseason. Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon could turn pro. They could stay.

Bargaining.

Barford has hinted he plans to return.

Macon declined comment when asked in the heat of the loss Sunday night. Doesn’t mean he’s leaving. Doesn’t mean he’s staying. Just means he had no comment.

Almost definitely the next step in determining whether the two leave or stay comes in mid-May. The NBA Draft Combine is May 9-14 in Chicago. Moses Kingsley, who has exhausted his eligibility, had an invite last year, then decided to return to school.

The final step in determining early departures is June 12. That’s the early entrant withdrawal deadline. If either declared for the draft up to that point and don’t pull their name out on that date, they’re going, no matter what.

Might be a long spring.

3-4 > 4-3 or nah?

Most every other team in the SEC has already started spring football practice. Some are already finishing up, even. Not Arkansas.

The Razorbacks begin spring practice a week from today — Tuesday, March 28 — and conclude with the Red-White game on April 29.

Arkansas-Dre Greenlaw
Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw (Jason Kersey/SEC Country)

Arguably the biggest major change from last year comes defensively. Paul Rhoads is the defensive coordinator after serving as defensive backs coach last season. Robb Smith moved on to Minnesota. With Rhoads’ promotion comes a change in technique, too. The Razorbacks are moving to a 3-4.

“A team that struggled to find linebackers last year is going to start putting more on the field?” A common question heard since the announcement was made.

We’ll get our first look at it soon. It’s nearly here. In the meantime, you can find a full audio preview at the link above.

The Knile keeps flowing

One of the more underrated Arkansas running backs this century has a new home.

Ex-Razorbacks tailback Knile Davis signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday. Davis is heading into his fifth year in the NFL and will be joining his third team.

arkansas-knile-davis
Former Arkansas running back Knile Davis

Davis hasn’t been the same running back since 2014, a year he ran for 463 yards and 6 touchdowns with Kansas City, but has been a capable kick returner since. He will likely fill a similar role with the Steelers.

Le’Veon Bell holds down the starting job with Pittsburgh, but Davis could compete for the backup role as a running back, actually. Arkansas native DeAngelo Williams wasn’t re-signed as Davis’ No. 2. That leaves Fitzgerald Toussaint as the team’s next leading returning rusher. He had 58 yards rushing a season ago.

Davis also joins another former Razorbacks player on the roster, wide receiver Cobi Hamilton.

ICYMI

  • The Arkansas volleyball team has a new assistant coach. Megan Wargo-Kearney is headed to Fayetteville after eight years at Truman State. TSU went to the NCAA Tournament six times while she was an assistant there. Wargo-Kearney will also serve as the team’s recruiting coordinator.
  • Arkansas’ women’s track and field team opens the year ranked No. 3 in the country for the outdoor season. The team finished the indoor season in the top 5 at the NCAA Championships. The Razorbacks also are the defending outdoor national champs, having won the 2016 meet in Eugene, Ore.

Yee-Haw! Today in Arkansas

Remember that stupid clown craze several months ago? People were roaming through cities, suburbs, rural areas, scaring the living daylights out of people (and sometimes doing worse than that) dressed as clowns?

This is even weirder.

A man in Little Rock was painting a house when he was approached by someone in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mask. The assailant pulled a gun and put it to the back of the man’s head. Bad guy got away with the man’s cellphone.

What is wrong with people? Details in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.

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