While doing a bit of Google sleuthing as part of our quest to track down and interview Charles Balentine, I came upon another hidden gem in the SI Archives: their preview of the Razorbacks’ chances during the 1984-85 basketball season. It’s not as awesome as the 1985-86 season preview, but it’s still a fun read.
With the benefit of hindsight, this was very much a transitional period in the history of Razorback basketball. With stars like Darrell Walker and Alvin Robertson out of the picture, Eddie Sutton went into his final season as Head Hog with Joe Kleine, Balentine and a bunch of youngsters who never quite lived up to the hype. Of course at the time it just seemed like Sutton was reloading, hence the No. 11 ranking and the SI quote that the Hogs were “a year away” (a year away from a 12-16 record, as it turned out).
But, that 1985 season turned out to be a fun one, with the Hogs advancing past the first round of the NCAAs for the first time in several years (more than the more-talented 1983 and 1984 teams could say) to give top-seeded St. John’s a serious run for their money in round two. And I’d forgotten all about that crazy 56-39 loss to No. 2 Georgetown earlier in the season (incidentally, guess who scored an incredible 22 of those 39 points). We’ll have to do a more in-depth look at this season at some point.
Bringing it back to the SI preview, we leave you with this quote from scribe Jack McCallum (a good writer who probably doesn’t count this as his finest moment):
“Even if Sutton’s young geese learn to fly in formation, the Razorbacks still won’t win a national championship. But they’ll be honking in Hog country this season.”