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From the SI Archives: 1985-86 Basketball Preview

4 APR 1994:  NOLAN RICHARDSON, HEAD COACH OF THE ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS, ON THE SIDELINES DURING THE 76-72 WIN OVER THE DUKE BLUEDEVILS AT THE NCAA FINAL GAME IN CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA. Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT
Razorback ExpatsSenior Analyst IMarch 26, 2009

Every Razorback fan over a certain age surely remembers Nolan Richardson’s first season as head coach as being confusing (those polka-dot shirts), transitional (suddenly the players were running a lot more), and ultimately very dispiriting (that 12-16 final record after 11 years of success under Eddie Sutton was pretty shocking).

But, there was a brief period of time before the season started when optimism was running high and experts actually thought the Hogs would be good that year. As proof, we take you back to Nov. 20, 1985…a time when Starship’s “We Built this City” ruled the pop charts, Ronald Reagan was summitting with Mikhail Gorbachev, and Sports Illustrated ranked Arkansas #16 in their college basketball preview issue.

Nolan was quite the quote machine even back then:

* On Andrew Lang: “”In two years he could be the No. 1 pick in the professional draft.”
* On William Mills: “There’s no difference between him and Michael Jordan.”
* On Mike Ratliff: “He could be a first round pick.”
* On Scott Rose: “He could have been the most valuable player in the Missouri Valley Conference.”

SI writer Hank Hersch got in on the act too, describing Stephan Moore as “the school’s first legit power forward” and, my personal favorite, referring to the well-coiffed Eric Poerschke as “do it all.”

Hersch closes by saying, “This season won’t be famine, but with just one senior, Arkansas' real feast is probably a year away.” Of course, we know how that story turned out, but if you’re in the mood for a fun trip down memory lane, definitely go read the full article. Good stuff.

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