No matter how you cut it, Gardner-Webb doesn't carry the weight of Tulsa when it comes to college basketball.
That's not to say the Golden Hurricane are any better or worse this year than the University of Arkansas' last foe, but it is a program that gets the attention of the Razorbacks.
"Tulsa is a team, that through the years, we have had a small rivalry in w way with," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "We ate located very close, have familiarity with and respect for each other. I know they are going to play hard and are probably the most physical team we will have played."
Tulsa (1-1) will visit Arkansas (4-0) Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. in a game that will be televised by Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southwest.
The Razorbacks will come into the game off a 79-63 win over Gardner-Webb, but led just 27-24 at halftime.
"We looked back at a little bit of the film of our last game and it was a strange game," Heath said, "in that some of the numbers we had were very impressive - shooting 70 percent the second half, not fouling very much and not turning the ball over very much."
"But the missing ingredient- with which I shared with my team - was just the energy level and the passion," Heath said. "That is something that we have got to have on a consistent basis. It just wasn't quite there. We showed a few clips to the players and it was funny because I felt like they thought they didn't play to the level they could have played in our last game."
Tulsa, which lost at home to Arkansas 81-74 last season and finished just 9-20 after nearly a decade of excellence, will be making its first road trip of the season.
The Golden Hurricane lost to Wright State 72-66 in overtime in its Preseason NIT first-round game and then came back to down Northwestern (La.) State 63-54 after getting big lead and then holding on while shooting just 12 percent from the floor after intermission.
Jarius Glenn, a 6-6, 213-pound power forward, leads Tulsa by averaging 18 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.
"They are very good defensively and have a heck of a player in Jarius Glenn," Heath said. "We had a handful with him last year. He had about 27 points against us last year and we didn't have an answer for him. Fortunately we were able to win that basketball game, but he is a tough, tough player."
Tulsa also has gotten a boost this season from the shooting of 6-4, 235-pound off guard Senaca Collins, who had his team's only three field goals in the second half of the Northwestern State game.
Collins had a career-high 26 points in that win, a game Tulsa led 40-19 at halftime.
"The guy who has really come on for them well is Senaca Collins," Heath said. "He is really shooting the ball well and averaging over double figures. Those are the guys we really have to pay attention to along with not allowing anybody else to step up."
Glenn and Collins are joined in the starting lineup by 6-8, 225-pound junior center Anthony Price (12.0), 6-9, 213-pound senior forward Guilherme Teichmann (1.5) and 6-2 junior point guard Chris Wallace (6.5).
"They have good experience," Heath said. "They have a senior and junior roster. We need to do a good job offensively and defensively. We want to create a faster tempo. Tulsa could slow it down and make it a halfcourt game. We don't want to do that."
Arkansas will likely send out a starting lineup that includes 6-7, 210-pound sophomore Ronnie Brewer (14.8), 6-4 junior Jonathon Modica (9.8), 6-5, 212-pound sophomore Olu Famutimi (11.3), 7-0, 233-pound freshman center Steven Hill (2.5) and either freshman Charles Thomas (7.8) or 6-8, 239-pound junior Rashard Sullivan (3.5).
They will be followed by a wave of players off the bench, including super-sub Eric Ferguson, a 6-1, 203-pound junior guard who is averaging a team-leading 15.8 points off the bench and prefers to keep coming off the pine.
"He has really played above where I thought he would be," Heath said. " He has taken his game to another level. It's early in the season and I hope it continues. I talked to him about maybe starting, and he said ‘Coach, I'm comfortable in this role.'"
The Razorbacks will also be getting another talented player before too long in 6-6, 225-pound freshman Marcus Monk, who is just coming off a spectacular freshman season as a wideout on the football team.
Monk, Mr. Basketball in the state of Arkansas last season, watched practice Sunday and Monday and will likely see his first action when the Razorbacks begin a seven-game, 15-day home stretch on Dec. 16 with Tennessee State.
"We expect him to be out for full practices after the Missouri game (on Dec, 7)," Heath said. "He's a guy that goes hard and can cover just about anybody. He will definitely make practice more intense and help in games. He wants to win. He loves basketball and will do whatever it takes to help."
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