What I’m Buying:

Michael Qualls – The 6-foot-6-inch sophomore has been nothing short of superb through the first eight games of the season.

After playing a somewhat small role last year, all Qualls has done this season is lead the team in scoring at nearly 16 points per contest, and in rebounding at six per game.

Adding a jump shot over the offseason has elevated his game, making him more of an offensive threat and not just a player who attacks the rim with reckless abandon. There may be enough talent in the Southeastern Conference, especially at the forward position, to keep Qualls off the All-SEC team this season, but don’t completely rule it out.

His competitiveness, hustle, and athleticism will keep him in the race for an All-SEC type of campaign. If he continues the tear he’s on now, he’ll be a household name very, very soon.

Basketball Performance Center – Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long and several other university officials finally broke ground on the long-awaited basketball performance center Saturday.

Arkansas is the only school in the SEC without a practice facility for its basketball programs, but with the new facility, which will be finished by the summer of 2015, it shows Long’s level of commitment to head coaches Mike Anderson and Tom Collen and their visions for the future.

It has been said the lack of a practice facility has resulted in losing key recruits in the past, but this will be no more. With all of the in-state talent in basketball to sign in the next few years, the facility now levels the playing field for those big recruiting battles with other major schools.

What I’m Selling:

Bret Bielema’s Top 25 Ballot – I’m not sure it makes much difference in the grand scheme of things, but Bielema’s final Coaches Poll ballot was extremely questionable and laughable at the same time.

It’s something coaches do following a weekend of football, and for the final ballot, each coach’s ballot is released.

Bielema’s was a main topic of discussion. Why? Because he gave No. 6 Ohio State and No. 11 Clemson their lowest rankings out of all coaches who handed in a ballot, ranking them No. 12 and No. 18, respectively.

And while there may be bad blood between the Buckeyes and Bielema, and no doubt he and every Arkansas fan enjoyed watching Ohio State lose, it may have been a bad move.

Bielema isn’t exactly enjoying Urban Meyer’s success, or even Dabo Swinney’s while his team is at the bottom of the SEC, but he should maybe hold off a little while longer on the trolling.

Men’s Basketball December Schedule – The Arkansas men’s basketball team just played its last quality opponent until the calendar flips to 2014, defeating Clemson 74-68 Saturday.

If you’re looking for the definition of a cakewalk, look at Arkansas’ schedule in the month of December.

Arkansas has an RPI of 38, good for the best in the SEC. But after facing Savannah State, Tennessee-Martin, South Alabama and High Point all before the new year, that RPI will plummet.

Obviously, these games were scheduled as win column stuffers, but they certainly don’t strengthen Arkansas’ overall schedule, which will be closely examined by the NCAA selection committee come March.

 

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