Eric Musselman a semifinalist for National Coach of the Year

Eric Musselman a semifinalist for National Coach of the Year
Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Eric Musselman talks to his team during a timeout during an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Randy Sartin/USA TODAY Sports via AP, Pool) (Source: Randy Sartin)

Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman was named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2021 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.

Musselman, who is in his second year at Arkansas, led the Razorbacks to a second-place finish in the SEC during the regular season to earn a double-bye to this year’s SEC Tournament. Last year, Arkansas (20-12) was the #11 seed at the SEC Tournament – playing in the opening round of the event. Arkansas was picked to finish sixth in this year’s SEC preseason media poll.

SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Razorbacks are currently ranked 12th in the AP poll, marking the first time since 2000 the program has entered the nation’s top 15 and the #12 ranking is the best for the program since Nov. 1998.
  • Arkansas is #12 in the NCAA NET, the highest in program history.
  • Arkansas ranks seventh in the NCAA in scoring offense (83.2 avg.), eighth in blocked shots (5.3 avg.), 10th in free throws made (395), 13th in rebounds (40.44 avg.) – after ranking 332nd in the category last year, 18th in scoring margin (12.9) and 20th in defensive rebounding (28.4 avg.) – after ranking 244th last season. The Hogs also lead the SEC in assists per game (15.0) while ranking second in assist-turnover ratio, rebound margin (after ranking last in the SEC last season) and turnover margin.
  • Arkansas was 6-0 in the month of February with five QUAD 1 wins, including a win at #10 Missouri and versus #6 Alabama.
  • Arkansas has made its accent thanks to 10-straight SEC wins, including a road win at #10 Missouri and a home win over #6 Alabama. The win over Missouri was the program’s first over a top 10 program on the road since 2006. The win over #6 Alabama was the program’s first over a team ranked that high since 1999.
  • The 10-game SEC win streak is the program’s best regular-season, conference streak since winning 11 straight SEC games to close the 1993-94 campaign. The 10-game, SEC win streak also matches the best in the league this season.
  • Arkansas is 20-5 overall despite playing a condensed schedule due to COVID-19. Coach Musselman has won at least 20 games in each of his six seasons as a collegiate head coach. This will just the seventh time Arkansas has won at least 20 games in a season with 26 or fewer regular-season games, joining 1925-26 (23-2), 1924-25 (21-5), 1935-36 (24-3), 1940-41 (20-3). 1976-77 (26-2) and 1978-79 (25-5).
  • Arkansas is 12-4 and second in the SEC. This is just the second time since the SEC went away from divisional play for the 2011-12 season that the Razorbacks have finished as high as second. A win versus Texas A&M Saturday in the regular-season finale would give Arkansas at least 13 SEC wins for just the fourth time ever and the first time since 2014-15 (13-5) with the other two occurring in 1991-92 (13-3) and 1993-94 (14-2). (Note: This year, Arkansas only played 17 of the 18 scheduled SEC games due to COVID-19.)
  • Arkansas won each of its last four SEC road games, marking the first time since 1995 the Hogs won four straight league games on the road.
  • Arkansas was undefeated in the months of November (2-0), December (7-0) and February (6-0). The last time Arkansas had at least three undefeated months in a season was 1993-94.
  • All of these accomplishments came with a roster featuring that lost two players early that are now in the NBA, just two returning scholarship players (Desi Sills and Ethan Henderson) that accounted for just 15 percent of last year’s offense with nine newcomers, including three graduate seniors (Vance Jackson Jr., Jalen Tate and Justin Smith, two sit-out transfers (JD Notae and Connor Vanover) and four freshmen (Moses Moody, Khalen Robinson, Davonte Davis and Jaylin Williams).

2021 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Semifinalists

Darian DeVries, Drake

Scott Drew, Baylor

Mark Few, Gonzaga

Leonard Hamilton, Florida State

Chris Holtmann, Ohio State

Juwan Howard, Michigan

Bob Huggins, West Virginia

Porter Moser, Loyola-Chicago

Eric Musselman, Arkansas

Nate Oats, Alabama

For more­­ information on Arkansas Men’s Basketball, follow @RazorbackMBB on Twitter.

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