Eric Musselman’s name came up Saturday as one to watch for a head coaching vacancy, and it’s a move that could make a lot of sense on the surface.

During ESPN’s “College GameDay,” Pete Thamel touched on the vacancies at Michigan, Ohio State and Louisville. He expects FAU’s Dusty May to be a figure in play at every school, but Musselman was also brought up when it comes to the Cardinals.

“I really think Dusty May is going to have really profound decisions to make when Florida Atlantic is out of the NCAA Tournament. Louisville, from there, is going to be really interesting,” said Thamel. “Does a name like Eric Musselman come up? His buyout is only $1 million after this season.”

Here’s Thamel’s brief report:

Musselman has been at Arkansas since the start of the 2019-20 season. He has gone 111-59 overall but is coming off the worst season of his tenure with the Razorbacks.

Examining the move from both sides

Entering this season, the idea of the Razorbacks or Musselman parting ways seemed largely unthinkable. Arkansas was riding the momentum of 3 straight NCAA Tournament appearances with a Sweet 16 appearance each year and a pair of Elite 8 trips.

However, the wheels fell off this season, and the full picture of recent trends should be revisited.

This season, the Razorbacks finished 16-17 overall after losing to South Carolina in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Arkansas also went 6-12 in SEC play with Vanderbilt and Mizzou the only teams to post worse league records.

In big-time games, the Razorbacks were particularly outmatched. Arkansas did beat Duke in nonconference play but finished the year 1-8 in games against AP Top 25 teams.

While a Sweet 16 appearance and win over Kansas last season ended the year on a high note, that brief run in the NCAA Tournament overshadowed some concerns that were building. For starters, Arkansas finished 9th in the SEC a year ago while finishing below .500 (8-10) in SEC play.

Ultimately, fans cannot avoid the fact that Musselman’s teams have produced a losing record in the SEC in 3 of his 5 seasons at the helm. This year, there will be no NCAA Tournament to help put a bright touch on things, and the SEC isn’t going to get any easier in the future.

South Carolina has burst through under Lamont Paris, and Texas and Oklahoma bring competent programs along a deep league that already includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and Florida, among others.

Then, there’s the time and money aspects. A $1 million buyout is not going to deter any program if Musselman is a candidate. Musselman is also wrapping up his 5th season in Fayetteville.

Why is the length important? Because Musselman, historically, has not stayed in one place for too long.

Part of that is climbing the ladder to get to a program such as Arkansas in a league like the SEC. But, at the end of the day, it cannot be completely ignored.

Musselman’s name being linked to Louisville could simply be chatter and nothing more. Fans can track all the odds and trends for the coaching vacancies with SDS’s sports betting links and apps.

But at a time when other programs are giving extensions to Lamont Paris and Nate Oats, Musselman living on a small buyout will be notable until a firm decision for next season is made.