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Musselman hints at expanded rotation for upcoming season

Razorbacks Desi Sills, Davonte Davis, Vance Jackson, JD Notae (from left to right).
Razorbacks Desi Sills, Davonte Davis, Vance Jackson, JD Notae (from left to right). (Arkansas Athletics)

Razorback Head Coach Eric Musselman played a limited rotation last season, though the bulk of the minutes came from the first six.

Each of those first players averaged at least 23 minutes, with four starters averaging over 31 minutes per game.

The breakdown for minutes per game will look a lot different in the upcoming season.

The tweet itself doesn’t outright suggest an expanded rotation, but another response, paired with the influx of talent on the roster, seems to infer so.

Many Razorback fans have the impression that last year’s limited number of contributors is the norm for an Eric Musselman team. That may not quite be the case.

The Razorbacks were limited to playing nine due to three players sitting out the season, but with more depth (and talent), Musselman may be willing to spread the minutes out more.

In three of his four seasons at Nevada, at least eight players played 10+ minutes per game. The spots immediately following the top eight vary based on talent.

For instance, in his first season at Nevada, the ninth, 10th, and 11th players in minutes per game averaged 6.3, 5.3, and 5.3 respectively. Only two players on that roster played 30+ minutes per game.

The following year, the ninth player averaged 8.2 minutes per game, but each of the top six players averaged over 30.

In year three, the lone year where eight players didn’t play in double figures, each of the top seven players were playing 20+ minutes a game because of the talent at the top of the roster. That team made it to the Sweet Sixteen and produced two NBA players.

Interestingly enough, Musselman’s roster in his final year at Nevada is most similar to his current roster at Arkansas. There was a lot of size and talent to go around with a starting lineup of four 6-foot-7 players and one 6-foot-11. Also, there were only 11 scholarship players eligible to play, just like the Razorbacks this year with Isaiah Joe in the NBA Draft and Abayomi Iyiola out with a torn ACL. Nine, 10, and 11 on that Nevada roster averaged 6.0, 1.5, and 1.1 minutes per game, respectively. Each of those three had multiple games where they did not even play.

Musselman is keen on exploiting mismatches and letting players determine how much they will play in practice. There’s no way of knowing exactly how many players will play how many minutes until the season starts, but there will be more than nine Razorbacks seeing the court in any number of games, despite what some fans may think.