2023-24 Arkansas men's basketball season preview

Arkansas Razorbacks

2022-23 record: 22-14, 8-10 in the SEC

Head coach: Eric Musselman

Tenure at Arkansas: Fifth season

Career coaching record: 205-76

Home court: Bud Walton Arena

Projected starters: G Davonte Davis, G El Ellis, G Tramon Mark, F Trevon Brazile, C Makhi Mitchell 

Bench: G Khalif Battle, F Jalen Graham, G Layden Blocker, F Chandler Lawson, G Keyon Menifield, F Baye Fall, G Joseph Pinion, F Jeremiah Davenport

Overview: Under head coach Eric Musselman, Arkansas basketball has been a force to reckon with in the SEC, making the Elite Eight in both 2021 and 2022. However, the Razorbacks had a slightly down year in 2023, suffering several injuries to key players and being tested against a strong league in conference play, resulting in a No. 8 seed in March and a Sweet 16 exit at the hands of the eventual national champion UConn Huskies. Despite losing several key players in the offseason, Musselman has reloaded his roster, and expectations are high in Fayetteville, Ark., with the Razorbacks coming in at No. 14 in the inaugural AP Poll. 

Last season, Arkansas was led by several stars who were selected in the NBA draft, including backcourt mates Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr. With three of five starters from 2023 departing, it would be natural to expect a down year for the Razorbacks. However, in the age of the transfer portal, teams can retool in an instant, and Musselman has done just that. Arkansas will welcome Louisville transfer El Ellis to facilitate its offense this season, something Ellis proved to do well in the ACC. Tramon Mark was also brought in from Houston; the junior has a reputation of being a lockdown defender, a skillset that will prove beneficial in the tough SEC. The likely sixth man for the Razorbacks is also a transfer, former Temple Owl Khalif Battle, who will be expected to score in bunches off the bench. Add in returning starter Devonta Davis and projected breakout star Trevon Brazile who is coming back from a torn ACL, and Bud Walton Arena should be home to an elite squad this year.

Despite leaning on the transfer portal to provide impact players, Musselman also signed an excellent two-player freshman class, a haul that ranked 13th in the country. The incoming pair is headlined by Baye Fall, a McDonald’s All-American who was the No. 29 recruit in the 2023 class. Layden Blocker also enters as a top-60 recruit, with the potential to step up if one of the transfer guards go down. If Arkansas can get any production from these two over their first season in Fayetteville, its ceiling only rises. 

Team ceiling: The transfers gel immediately and Brazile breaks out as expected, and the Razorbacks advance to the Elite Eight or beyond.

Team floor: Arkansas’s regular season goes similarly to last year, struggling to separate in a tough SEC. This results in a mediocre seed in the NCAA tournament and an exit in the first few rounds. 


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