Arkansas Looks To Make Move

Arkansas (16-9) started out league play 2-6, but has a chance to get to 7-7 this week against the SEC's two basement squads as host South Carolina on Wednesday and visit Mississippi State on Saturday.

You could argue that the SEC schedule makers didn't do Arkansas' basketball team any favors with its early league schedule.

There's also no doubt that the Razorbacks missed several opportunities to help themselves as they went 2-6 through their first eight SEC games.

But suddenly Arkansas (16-9, 5-7) finds itself with league cellar dwellers South Carolina and Mississippi State in front of it this week with a chance to climb all the way back to .500 in SEC play.

They will host the Gamecocks (3-9, 10-15) – who have won their last two games - Wednesday night in Fayetteville at 8 p.m. before traveling to Mississippi State (3-9, 13-12) on Saturday.

"We get a chance to play a South Carolina team that – just looking at some of their scores – they have lost a lot of close games, especially at home," Razorback head coach Mike Anderson said on Monday's SEC Teleconference.

"They were riding a two-game winning streak – beating Alabama (67-66) and Vanderbilt (65-59) the last two games," Anderson said. "That's a Frank Martin coached team so we know they are going to challenge you defensively and get up in the lanes. They are going to be physical and aggressive. Hopefully we can continue to play good basketball."

South Carolina has a blossoming star in freshman guard Sindarius Thornwell, who averaged 20.5 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the two wins last week.

He leads all freshman in the conference in scoring in points (17.3), assists (4.0) and steals (1.33) and either scored or assisted on 15 of the Gamecocks' final 17 points in the win over Alabama Saturday.

"He is very strong and crafty, a guy that can really shoot the ball, has a great mid-range game," Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. "I really liked him and think he is one of the better players in our league.

Arkansas had won three of its last four games, including an 81-70 win over visiting LSU on Saturday.

That was a day when former coaches Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson as well as former President Bill Clinton were hand on to honor the teams and players from the school's six Final Four teams.

Clinton spoke to the current team after the game.

"He was just proud to be in Razorback Country number one," Anderson said. "He said he was proud of our effort and had followed these guys. He has seen some of our games on TV – one being the big Kentucky game and the close game we just had with Missouri.

"He is a big fan and (Arkansas basketball) is one of the things that he relishes," Anderson added. "He knows practically all of our guys. He was excited just being part of that atmosphere and having a jersey that was presented to him. It was a special today."

Many of the current Razorbacks were not alive when Arkansas won the national title in 1994 with then President Clinton following that squad around and on hand for the NCAA title win over Duke.

"As they look in the history books, they probably will (realize it was a big deal)," Anderson said. "It will take them a couple of days when they get away from it to understand the significance of it. Maybe even a year or so.

"A lot of these guys were maybe two or not even born…but some of these guys, especially the history guys, will really relish the significance of it," Anderson added.

Mike Anderson

Hawgs Daily Top Stories