Arkansas’s Early-Season Efficiency

by Tony Perotti

The college basketball season has gotten off to a start, then a stop, then a few pauses and there is sure to be more disjointedness to come. There are 28 Division I teams that have yet to play a game and an entire conference (Ivy League) that will not play a game at all in the 2020-2021 season. Programs are adjusting to uncertainty and forging ahead in these unprecedented times. Due to the lack of pre-season practice, scrimmages, and exhibition games, many programs have found it difficult to build an early-season continuity or rhythm.

The University of Arkansas Razorbacks are one of the few teams that have gotten off to a great start considering all of the turmoil surrounding this unusual season. Mike Neighbors’s Razorbacks are 7-1 and have played the most games of any team ranked in the Top 25. Statistically speaking, the Hogs are in rhythm, scoring 93.3 points per game while competing against two top-15 teams.

A key metric for the team is Effective Field Goal Percentage which you can see in the stats package below from Just Play Solutions. EFG% values three-point made field goals at an extra .5 in value, meaning as a whole, a three-pointer is a much more valuable shot than a mid-range two-pointer. The Razorbacks are carrying an EFG% of 52.3, which is an excellent number and certainly a key to their early-season success. For comparison, the Seattle Storm EFG% in their 2020 championship season was 53.2 and the Los Angeles Lakers EFG% was 54.6 this year.

The shot chart below, pulled from Just Play’s Analytics Tools, illustrates the Razorbacks’ offensive philosophy. Arkansas executes their offense with an emphasis on valuing open three-pointers, paint baskets, and free throws above all else. Of the 554 total shot attempts, only 73 (13.2%) have been two-point field goals outside the lane. 275 or 49.6% of the field goal attempts have been inside the paint, and 206 or 37.2% have been three-point attempts. 

The Arkansas Razorbacks clearly value analytics as part of their game style formulation. 86.8% of all shot attempts come from inside the paint & outside the three-point line. This is not accidental and clearly a use of statistical analysis to drive on-court production.

To see more in-depth statistics and how to apply their use, visit

Just Play Sports Solutions provides basketball staffs with a complete coaching solution – all in one application. From building playbooks, scouting opponents, teaching players, and coordinating recruiting schedules, you will prepare faster and engage better with today’s athletes using Just Play.

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