Arkansas (8-1 straight up, 4-4-1 against the spread) announced Wednesday that it will be without Trevon Brazile for the rest of the season after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Tuesday’s 65-58 home win over UNC Greensboro.
Brazile, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward who played for Missouri as a true freshman last season, was logging an average of 27.0 minutes through nine games with the Razorbacks. He was averaging 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocked shots, 1.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
Brazile had made 48.1 percent of his field-goal attempts, 37.9 percent of his 3-pointers and 67.7 percent of his free throws.
It’s certainly a costly blow for Eric Musselman’s team. However, it isn’t one that crushes all hopes of a third consecutive trip to the Elite Eight, nor is it one that eliminates the dream that this proud program can cut the nets down on a Monday night in early April for the first time since 1994.
Brazile had come off the bench in all nine games, so the starting lineup won’t change. Only eight players are averaging double-digit minutes for Arkansas, but I wouldn’t say that the Razorbacks are only seven deep moving forward.
Look for Arizona St. transfer Jalen Graham to take on an increased role. Graham started 41 of the 50 games he played in for the Sun Devils over the last two years. He averaged 9.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.9 blocked shots and 0.8 steals per game last season.
But Graham has only played in six games for the Razorbacks, averaging just 7.0 minutes per contest. He’s averaging 5.2 points and 3.0 RPG. Despite limited minutes so far this season, the 6-foot-9 forward has size, loads of experience and was a quality rim protector for Bobby Hurley’s club.
Graham averaged 1.6 blocked shots per game two years ago and 1.0 BPG as a true freshman. In 2020-21, he averaged 8.1 points and 5.0 RPG.
Makhi Mitchell is already a starter, but the 6-foot-9 senior post player is only averaging 18.8 minutes per game. That workload increased Tuesday and will continue to do so. The transfer from Rhode Island played 32 minutes against UNC Greensboro, contributing 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Makhi’s twin brother, Makhel Mitchell, will also get more opportunities in Brazile’s absence. Makhel has only played in seven of nine games to date, getting just 8.4 minutes per game. He’s averaged 3.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game.
However, Makhel averaged 10.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 BPG for Rhode Island last season.
In 23 starts in the 25 games he played in for Missouri last year, Brazile averaged 6.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game. He made 53.4 percent of his FGAs and 61.4 percent of his two-point attempts.
Arkansas is currently ranked No. 17 at KenPom. Musselman’s squad has played a soft schedule to date, facing only two Top-100 KenPom foes. The Razorbacks lost a 90-87 decision to Creighton (No. 21) at the Maui Classic, but they beat San Diego St. (No. 27) 78-74 in overtime at the same event.
FanDuel has Arkansas with 30/1 odds to win the national title. Seventeen teams have shorter odds than the Razorbacks, with Houston currently listed as the +700 ‘chalk.’