Hard-Fought Loss Good for Razorbacks
After the debacle that was Razorback football this season, I was overjoyed to get back inside Bud Walton Arena Friday night.
I was afraid, however, that a bad football season would have the opposite effect on most fans, and attendance for the men’s basketball game against No. 6 Syracuse would be well below par. I have never been so happy to be proved wrong by thousands of people.
The announced attendance of 19,259 featured more than 4,000 students and was the largest crowd in Bud Walton since 2009.
“We are certainly happy that our fans, not only do they show up, they show out,” head coach Mike Anderson said after the game.
“I’m proud of our fans, they were awesome tonight,” Anderson added.
Even Jim Boeheim, who has been the head coach at Syracuse for 36 years, took note of the rowdy crowd that filled Bud Walton.
“This is one of the toughest buildings that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a couple,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.
“Great fans, great, great fans here,” Boeheim added.
As proud as I am of Razorback fans, I am even more proud of the team.
It would have been all too easy for them to quit when Syracuse pulled to a 30-15 lead and continued to make three-pointer after three-pointer.
It could have gotten ugly. Fans could have left at halftime rather than staying until the end of the game. The young Razorbacks could have admitted that it was Syracuse’s night and waved a white flat.
But none of that happened. The team fought and put on a very good show for the fans that showed up to support them.
“There was no quit in our guys, even until right there at the end,” Anderson said.
The Hogs are in the midst of one of the toughest out-of-conference schedules they have played in a long time. In addition to the loss to Syracuse, the team has lost to Arizona State and Wisconsin.
Even though losses are never seen as a good thing, junior forward Marshawn Powell said after the game that the team has learned much more from the losses than they could have if they had won all of those games.
Looking forward, the Hogs will play the Oklahoma Sooners Tuesday in Bud Walton before travelling to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face the Michigan Wolverines.
Some Razorback fans, my dad being a prime example, are befuddled as to why the team is playing such a hard schedule before Southeastern Conference play has even begun.
I, on the other hand, love the tough schedule. I wish the football program would take note and schedule better out-of-conference competition. The fact is, playing bad teams might make the record look better at the end of the year, but it does not get the team ready for tough conference or, if they make it there, postseason play.