No Easy Task

Although Oakland lost Monday night at Alabama, the Golden Grizzlies (0-1) have been one of the most successful programs in the country the last three seasons and will face Arkansas (1-0) Wednesday night at 7 p.m. inside Bud Walton Arena.

Once upon a time when Mike Anderson was a Razorback assistant, Arkansas' basketball program used to have the moniker "40 minutes of Hell."

They rode that all the way to the national title in 1994 and a runner-up finish in 1995.

It's a little bit different now that he is in his inaugural season at the helm at Arkansas.

"It may not quite be that at this point in time," Anderson said Tuesday afternoon while the guest speaker at the Northwest Arkansas Tip-Off Club. "I think I started off with 25 minutes of Hell and 15 minutes of what the hell are we doing?

"Now I think we are probably up to 28 minutes of Hell and 12 minutes of what the hell are we doing?" Anderson added. "But this is a group of guys that is working hard for me to get better each and every day. I'm excited about it and think we have some pieces."

The Razorbacks (1-0) – who opened the regular season last Friday with a 83-63 win over USC-Upstate – will likely need all those pieces against Oakland (0-1) Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

The Razorbacks will be facing an Oakland squad that has won 78 games the past three seasons, beaten then No.7 Tennessee at home and took Texas to the wire last season while making its second straight NCAA Tournament.

"This is a team that is used to winning and has experience," Anderson said. "We have got our work cut out for us."

The Golden Grizzlies averaged 85.5 points per game last season – the second-best number in the country – and will be playing their second straight SEC team to start the season.

Alabama downed Oakland 74-57 on Monday night in both team's season opener as the team from Rochester, Mich., traveled to Tuscaloosa.

"They have had a chance to go and play on the road so they won't come in here intimidated," Anderson said. "I am anxious to see if we can clean up in terms of the turnovers (23) we had last game and see if we can play efficient basketball."

Reggie Hamilton, Oakland's 5-11 star guard and a preseason mid-major All-American, scored all 16 of his points in first half, but was handcuffed by Alabama in the second half.

Or it might have been Golden Grizzlies coach Greg Kampe stopping his standout, who averaged 17 points per game last season and led the Summit League in assists.

"I think I stopped him,' Kampe said. "I was very angry with him at halftime. I think he played a terrible first half. I thought he lost purpose out there and it became more of a battle for him to score than it was Oakland trying to score. We had quite a half time and we are going to have more than that after this because he just has a lot to learn.

"We don't have some guys here this year that he had last year and he tried to take over and that's not what you do," Kampe added. "I'm very upset and disappointed in the way he played. He probably could have had 25 or 30 if I would have let him continue to do that, but that's not how we play.

"We had people open and he turned it down," Kampe continued. "I thought what he wanted to do was he wanted to win the game so bad that he wanted to win it by himself. The way he was playing hurt the team."

Hamilton is one of three starters returning from last season's 25-10 team.

The Golden Grizzlies did lose senior season Summit League Player of the Year Keith Benson (17.9, 10.1 rebounds) and 6-9 senior forward Will Hudson (10.6).

They do return 6-5 forward Drew Valentine – who had 11 against Alabama - and 6-4 sophomore guard Travis Bader, who was the nation's ninth-leading 3-point shooter last season, but was just 1-of-5 from that range against Bama.

Oakland shot just 40 percent from the field at Alabama on Monday night and was just 4-of-18 from the 3-point line.

"I know they are a good basketball team," Anderson said. "I am sure they are going to go and try to get better than what they did in the first game.

"They didn't shoot the ball well and I think they are a much better shooting basketball team than they showed in the first game, but you have got to credit Alabama," Anderson added. "It was probably about how Alabama played defense."

Both teams should be flying up and down the court Wednesday as both want an up-tempo game.

"They want to get up and down the floor," Anderson said. "They attack the basket and get to the free throw line and also shoot a lot of threes. We really have got to recognize where the shooters area and rebound the basketball and get some transition baskets as well."


Hawgs Daily Top Stories