It's not a real game, but it's the next best thing.
Arkansas's basketball team opens up its two-game exhibition season Friday night at 7 p.m. by hosting Southwest (Mo) Baptist University at Bud Walton Arena.
"I am looking for the guys that can bring it when we turn the lights on," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "You are finally playing someone other than yourself so you want to see how they perform with the group, what they bring to the table. We got to have some guys - especially when they come off the bench - to give us energy. Not only the energy, but the hustle.
"And the guys starting out - can they set the pace? Who are those guys going to be?
Anderson continued on what he will be looking for as his team - which has a much deeper bench this year - tries to improve on last season's 18-14 record.
"We want to be a much better basketball team than we were last year," Anderson said, "so which guys are going to pick up on the defensive schemes we are talking about? Who's going to be the guy that goes gets us 10 boards a game? Do we have a guy like that? In a game we get a chance to see that."
Southwest Baptist, a Division II school located in Bolivar, has just three players coming back from an 18-12 squad and the Bearcat's tallest player is 6-7.
The returning starters are 5-11 sophomore guard Preston Guiot and 6-2 senior guard Kyle Sloan, who both averaged over 12 points per game last season.
The Bearcats will play Arkansas Friday, Drake on Saturday and then finish a three-game exhibition slate of Minnesota on Monday.
SBU head coach Jeff Guiot has compiled a 157–83 record as the school's all-time winningest coach.
"He coached (former Razorback) Jannero Pargo while he was at junior college," Anderson said.
Arkansas played its Red-White game on Tuesday with the Red winning 85-75 and a plethora of players shining during the contest.
"I am encouraged with some of the play, but we've got to clean up a lot of different areas as well," Anderson said.
Anderson said he is looking for quality of minutes and not quantity of minutes.
"I think your core is going to be about eight or nindguys and some other guys have a chance to play some quality minutes," Anderson said. "What they do in those minutes will dictate what will take place during the rest of the season."
The game will be broadcast on radio via the Razorback Sports Network.
Arkansas will then host LeMoyne-Owen on Monday night in another exhibition and then open its season November 9 with visiting Sam Houston State.
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