MIKE ANDERSON UA'S INTERIM HEAD COACH: Mike Anderson is Arkansas' interim head coach, taking over for Nolan Richardson (more on Anderson is inside). Richardson was released from his contract on Friday, March 1. In 17 years at Arkansas, he had a record of 389-169 (.697). In 22 years overall, he has a mark of 508-206 (.711). Richardson guided the Razorbacks to the 1994 national championship, the 1995 championship game and into the Final Four three times. He coached the Hogs to the Sweet 16 six times and into the Elite Eight four times, and earned NCAA Tournament bids 14 times and an NIT bid once with 15 consecutive national tournament appearances. Anderson had been with Richardson throughout his 22-year coaching career, including playing for Richardson at Tulsa. Anderson became a full-time assistant under Richardson in 1988-89.
THE TENNESSEE SERIES: Arkansas leads the all-time series 9-7, but Tennessee won this year's regular-season meeting, 64-53, in Knoxville on Feb. 13. UA has a 4-1 lead in Fayetteville and at neutral sites while UT leads 5-1 in Knoxville. The only time the two teams have faced each other in the SEC tournament came in 1997-98 with Arkansas winning a second-round matchup, 102-96.
VANDERBILT RECAP: With Mike Anderson taking over as interim head coach the day before, Arkansas' .475 shooting percentage was its best in nine games and five players scored in double figures as the Razorbacks beat Vanderbilt, 81-67. On Senior Day, Teddy Gipson had a season-high 19 points, Brandon Dean scored 16, and Jannero Pargo and T.J. Cleveland 10 each. Junior Carl Baker added 10 as well. UA shot 53.8 percent in the second half and used a 13-0 scoring run to put the game away. Arkansas forced 20 turnovers, had 11 steals, made 10 three-pointers and had 19 assists. Sam Howard led Vanderbilt with 20 points while Matt Freije had 18 points and eight rebounds.
HOG SCHEDULE SECOND-TOUGHEST IN NATION: UA has played the second-toughest schedule in the country, according to CollegeRPI.com. UA is also No. 38 in the College.RPI.com poll.
DOUBLE-FIGURE SCORERS: Arkansas had a season-high five players score in double figures in the win over Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks had four players reach double digits in four other games (Tennessee-Chattanooga, Oklahoma State, at Memphis and at Auburn). In the three previous games (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State), the Hogs had a total of four double-figure scorers.
SENIORS STEP UP: In the win over Vanderbilt, all four of Arkansas' departing seniors (Dionisio Gomez, a partial qualifier when he entered school, is scheduled to graduate and is expected to return for a second senior season) scored in double figures. Teddy Gipson had a season-high 19 points and 30 minutes, and career-high matching 14 shots and eight shots made, and T.J. Cleveland matched his season high of 10 points. The Vanderbilt game marked just the fourth this year in which Gipson, Jannero Pargo and Brandon Dean reached double figures in the same contest (Southwest Texas, at Memphis, at Mississippi State).
BETTER BAKER: Junior Carl Baker had another solid game against Vanderbilt with 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots. Over the last five games, he's averaging 7.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots and has been to the free throw line a team-high tying 14 times and made 11 (.786), the second-most on the team.
MATT'S STATS: Over the last four games, Matt Jones is shooting 57.9 percent (11-19) and averaging 5.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 assists.
SEC LEADERS: Entering the tournament, Jannero Pargo leads the SEC with 3.36 three-point goals per game while ranking second in three-point percentage, fourth in scoring and ninth in overall shooting percentage. As a team, the Hogs lead the league in steals (10.57) and in turnover margin (+5.46).
FREAK STAT OF THE YEAR: For the season, junior forward Larry Satchell has 16 assists and 17 turnovers, but in SEC play, he has seven assists and three turnovers, and actually leads the league (in league play only) with a 2.33 assist-to-turnover ratio.
PARGO'S 30-POINT GAMES: Senior Jannero Pargo, Sports Illustrated's national Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 27 and a two-time SEC Player of the Week selection this season, recorded his fifth 30-point game of the season with his career-high matching 35-point performance at Mississippi State. He is the first Razorback to have five 30-point games in the same season since Todd Day in 1991 with 33 against Alabama-Birmingham, 31 against Jackson State and Alabama, and 30 against Florida State and Houston. Pargo had 35 against MSU and then-No. 4 Florida, 33 at then-No. 7 Alabama, 32 against Tennessee-Chattanooga and 30 at Memphis. His efforts against Florida and Alabama came in back-to-back games, making him the first Hog to score 30 points in consecutive contests since Joe Kleine had 32 against Texas and Texas Tech in 1985. The last player to record more than five 30-point games in a season is Kleine with seven in 1985 (41 vs. Iowa State, 37 vs. TCU, 36 and 32 against Texas Tech, 32 vs. Texas and 31 vs. Ohio State). Day is the last player to record a 40-point game with 43 against LSU in 1992. Pargo's 35-point games are the most for a Razorback since Al Dillard had 39 against Delaware State in 1994.
LAST TIME IN ATLANTA: The last time the SEC Tournament was in Atlanta (2000), UA won four games in four days to win the title with Brandon Dean earning MVP honors.