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After missing the NCAA Tournament in his first season (everyone did, to be fair) in Fayetteville, Eric Musselman guided Arkansas to a 24-6 record in Year 2. That success landed the Razorbacks a 3-seed in this year’s tournament, their highest ranking since the 1994-95 season.
After a slow start against Colgate in the Round of 64, Arkansas made a strong push late in the game to win 85-68. The next round featured a showdown against No. 6 seed Texas Tech, which many expected to be a good game — and it was.
But before that game took place, CBS betting analyst Todd Fuhrman had already made headlines. When breaking down the matchup between the Razorbacks and Red Raiders, Fuhrman was locked and loaded with a few shots for the Arkansas head coach.
“When you look at the head coaches in this game, I think it’s one of the biggest mismatches you’re going to see round of 32,” Fuhrman said. “Chris Beard has to be licking his chops knowing Eric Musselman is on the other sidelines.”
“When you look at the head coaches in this game, I think it’s one of the biggest mismatches you’re going to see round of 32… Chris Beard has to be licking his chops knowing Eric Musselman is on the other sidelines.”
— Tye Richardson 🐗 (@TyeSportsRadio) March 21, 2021
Quite the take, right?
Well, Arkansas won that game 68-66, which now makes it the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance in 25 years. In other words, Musselman has the team humming.
In his postgame press conference, Musselman made sure to respond to Fuhrman’s attack, and let’s just say … wow.
“I was alerted before the game about somebody on CBS who said something about the coaching matchup, so I was a little shocked we could actually win a close game, based on his comments,” Musselman said. “Whoever that guy is, I’ve never heard of him in my entire life. So his credibility is absolutely zero. But anyway, coaching in a lot of games, I hope that experience helps. The NBA game, when you get to coach 82 games, there’s a lot of close games instead of a college season of 30.”
Then Musselman was asked how he handles that sort of criticism. Does he let it motivate him, or does he simply brush it off? Well, it’s hard to say that he simply brushes it off after the comment above, and Musselman acknowledges that.
“I brought it up right away, right? Yeah, I take it personal,” Musselman said, via 247Sports. “I mean, who is this guy? He’s never called a timeout. I mean, who is the guy? I don’t know who he is. Yeah, I took it personal. My son brought it to me whenever the thing went out. I knew right away. So, yeah, I take it personal when someone says something like that.”
So what’s the next step in this process? Now that the game is over, get a reaction out of Fuhrman.
That’s exactly what OutKick founder Clay Travis did during his radio show on Monday morning. He brought Fuhrman onto OutKick the Coverage, and the first thing Clay brought up was the exchange. Here was Furhman’s response:
“I stand by everything I said,” Fuhrman said. “Arkansas was a double-digit blown lead away from their entire fanbase needing to eat crow. And if Mac McClung doesn’t miss the front end to try and tie the game up — and they don’t miss two layups — suddenly I look like the genius instead of everybody else.”
In other words, he isn’t backing down. Fuhrman has felt the wrath of Razorback fans. When Clay asked him what his mentions look like and whether anything compares in terms of fan criticism, Fuhrman was pretty clear.
“Not even close, honestly,” Furhman said.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.