Here Come The Rattlers

Arkansas (2-0) plays host to Florida A&M (0-3) Tuesday night at 7 p.m. as the Razorbacks start a stretch of three games in five days in the Las Vegas Invitational.

Arkansas' basketball players are happy the season is finally going to get rolling.

After having nine days off after its regular season opened until game two, head coach Mike Anderson's Razorbacks will now play three games in five days.

Arkansas (2-0) will begin that run on Tuesday night when it hosts Florida A&M (0-3) in a 7 p.m. game at Bud Walton Arena.

"I'd rather play a lot of games than no games," Arkansas sophomore guard B.J. Young said. "Put us on the court, we're ready. Coach A has us ready. He had us prepared the whole summer. This is what we've been working for the whole summer. I just think we're ready."

It will be the Razorbacks' second game in the four-game Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, an early season exempt tournament that began with two games each at home sites.

The event will then move on to Las Vegas for a Friday night 6 p.m. game with Arkansas meeting Arizona State for a chance to play either Creighton or Wisconsin in the championship on Saturday.

Arkansas should be fresh since no player logged more than 20 minutes of action in Sunday's 112-63 thrashing of Longwood and 10 players played at least 10 minutes.

"That's the beauty of having the depth that we have," Anderson said. "When you can have that depth where guys come in and they either maintain the level that we're playing at or they increase it."

Florida A&M comes into this game with losses at Houston (81-76), at Stetson (88-76) and at Arizona State (97-70) on Sunday afternoon.

Jamie Adams – a 5-10 junior guard averaging a team high 18.3 points - had 24 points in the Arizona State loss while 6-2 junior guard Reggie Lewis (12.7) added 16.

Muhammed Abdul Aleem – a 6-4 junior guard who averages 12.7 points as does Lewis – brings firepower off the bench for a team that starts no one over 6-7.

"They're a part of this tournament, and obviously with our basketball team, we can't look at the names of teams," Anderson said. "We're a team that's just steadily trying to get better each and every outing. Just trying to control the things we can control."

Arkansas will likely start the 6-3 Young (23.0), 6-7 junior forward Marshawn Powell (15.0), 6-10 sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson (9.0, 4.5), 6-2 junior guard Mardracus Wade (6.0) and 6-5 swingman Rashad Madden (5.0).

The top players off the bench so far have been 6-7 junior college transfer Coty Clarke (12.0, 7.0), 6-3 freshman guard Anthon Bell (9.0) and 6-5 freshman Michael Qualls (9.0).

Young, an All-SEC first-team selection, started only seven of his team's 32 games last season, but was in the starting line-up on Sunday after serving a two-game suspension.

He did play 807 minutes last season – which was fourth on the team – while averaging a team-best 15 points a game.

"He's matured now," Anderson said. "As you mature, you're ready to step up to those responsibilities. That's growth. Growth as a player. He had a great summer. So coming into this year. He's ready.

"... But here's the thing I don't think you guys understand," Anderson told the media. "To me, BJ was a starter (last year). I mean, as I always say, I can start a guy, and hell, he can start for one minute. But I started him now, versus the guy that may play the most minutes of anybody coming off the bench. I guess with me you guys kind of get that kind of confused. I considered him a starter last year."


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