Arkansas hopes to get Michigan's upcoming brutal road schedule off to a bad start with a packed house.
The Razorbacks (13-5) host the No. 19 Wolverines (15-4) Saturday at 1 p.m. in a nationally televised college basketball game from what is expected to be a raucous and sold-out Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas, fresh off an 86-63 humbling road loss at No. 2 Kentucky, will be trying to go 14-0 at home for the first time since the 1997-1998 squad.
"We are going to be playing an outstanding team at home in front of our fans," Razorback head coach Mike Anderson said. "Our guys tend to play at a different level (at home). We have got to continue to work on playing at that level and then take it on the road. It should be a great, great atmosphere and our kids are looking forward to it."
Michigan will be playing at Arkansas, at Purdue and at Ohio State in its next three games and has five of its next six contests away from home.
Senior guard Zac Novak knows that's a stiff challenge for Michigan, who last visited Fayetteville back in 1981 and went home with an 82-73 loss.
"We go into every game thinking we got a chance to win and you know we fully expect to win every game we play in," Novak said. "Going into that, you obviously want to get three wins. You know it is going to be tough, you know it is going to be challenge - three good teams and three great environments."
Michigan is coming into this game off an exciting 60-59 home win over arch rival Michigan State – which was the Wolverine's fifth game in 13 days for head coach John Beilein's team.
It is viewed as Michigan's best win this season.
"I don't get into that, ‘The best,'" Belein said. "They're all so great. This is simple. If it means so much to so many people, then it means a lot to me. But it's not what drives me. What drives me is getting to be a better coach every day, and get this team to be better players every day."
It's a Michigan team that takes over 44 percent of it shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
"They are going to shoot 3-pointers, lay-ups, (use) backdoors and are a very good defensive team," Anderson said.
The Wolverines are led by 6-6 sophomore Tim Hardaway, Jr. – son of the former NBA player – and freshman point guard sensation Trey Burke.
Hardaway has not disappointed in his young career at Michigan.
"He is a tough match-up because of his size and his skill level," Anderson said. "He is inside-outside, he can put the ball on the floor. He is a competitor and he comes from pretty good stock when you talk about how his dad was a great ballplayer."
Burke has played beyond his years according to Beilein.
"There's been very few times where I've looked at him and said, ‘Aw he's just a freshman…'", Belein said after the win over Michigan State. "When the ball is in his hand, he doesn't show anything like being a freshman."
Anderson agrees with that assessment.
"I thin Burks has really been the biggest and best surprise," Anderson said. "He runs their show. He almost has 100 assists on the year, a 2-to-1 ratio. That is pretty good versus the competition they play. He directs that ship and they follow his lead. He just has a calming influence and he can score."
Arkansas has had a few days to rebound from its humbling road defeat to Kentucky.
"We hope to play better more than anything else," Anderson said. "I just thought we were kind of taken aback by the atmosphere and just got off to a slow start at Kentucky."
He's happy to be playing this Saturday instead of having an open date as was originally scheduled when the SEC slate was released.
"The short memory has go to be there, no matter who play,"' Anderson said. "Our kids look forward to getting that taste out of their mouth after that Kentucky game."
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