Hogs Not Obsessed With Knight

FAYETTEVILLE -- Growing up, Ronnie Brewer never thought he'd play against a Bob Knight-coached basketball team.

Brewer and the Razorbacks (8-2) will do just that when they meet Texas Tech (6-5) at 9:05 p.m., on Wednesday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

"I used to see all of (Knight's) temper tantrums on television," Brewer said, grinning. "I knew I didn't want to play where he was coaching."

Arkansas coach Stan Heath downplayed the Knight aspect of Wednesday's game, but Brewer did say, "Bob Knight being the great coach he is should bring a lot of attention to the game. It's a big game."

Heath, who was an assistant coach at Michigan State while Knight coached at Indiana, said he didn't know Knight well but that Spartans coach Tom Izzo and Knight had a good relationship.

Heath said he didn't think the Razorbacks would dwell on Knight's presence during Wednesday's game.

"Maybe I'm dumb, but if I'm standing out there (as a player) looking at the other coach, I'm stupid," Heath said. "I don't think players think that way. I didn't when I was playing. I never look at the other coach unless some crazy thing happens."

Knight, a larger-than-life legend in his 40th year as a college coach, has a career record of 860-338.

"He's a Hall of Fame coach," Heath said. "He'll have his team well prepared, and we have to make sure we're prepared to play at a high level also."

The Red Raiders won at least 22 games in each of Knight's first four seasons at Tech, but this year they have no senior on the squad and have lost three of their last four games, including an 84-73 defeat at Nevada-Las Vegas on Saturday.

Five of the 11 players Knight used against UNLV were freshmen.

Jarrius Jackson, a 6-foot-1 junior guard from Monroe, La., scored 22 points for Tech, as did Martin Zeno, a 6-5 sophomore guard from Sulphur, La.

Rebounding A Key
Both Texas Tech and Arkansas have struggled on the boards at times this season. Tech has been outrebounded by its opponents by an average of 38.3 to 36.5 per game, while the Hogs have outrebounded their opponents by just 34.4 to 33.6.

Arkansas' leading rebounder is 6-foot-10 Darian Townes with a 5.8 average, followed by 7-foot Steven Hill and 6-8 Charles Thomas at rather modest 4.2 marks.

"Our rebounding is obviously not as good as we'd like it to be," Hill said Monday. "We need one of the big men to pick up the slack. We have the size, but unfortunately no one has come to the front."

Heath issued this word of warning: "I do have a freshman (Cyrus McGowan) who likes to rebound. He's had a pretty good last week-and-a-half, and I'm going to find some more minutes for him."

McGowan averages 2.0 rebounds in just 5.7 minutes per game.

"If he can help us win, he's going to play," Heath said.

Jon Plefka, a 6-8 junior, leads Texas Tech with 6.0 rebounds per game. Darryl Dora, Tech's tallest player at 6-9, is next at 5.3. Martin and Jackson follow at 4.9 and 4.0 boards per game respectively.

Heath said that with several teams playing zone defense against Arkansas, the Hogs should be getting lots of second and third shots on offense.

"I think guys find niches," he said. "Dontell Jefferson concentrates on delivering the ball to the right guy. Jonathon Modica and Brewer lived on the glass as freshmen, but when you get older you change your game a little and don't think about (rebounding) as much."

Brewer and Modica grab 3.6 rebounds per game, while Jefferson gets 2.9.

Odds And Ends
Heath said as of last week, more than 4,000 Arkansas fans had bought tickets for Wednesday night's game in Dallas.

The Razorbacks are not scheduled to play in Dallas next season, although Heath said the Southeastern Conference has had talks with both the Big 12 and Big East about a possible challenge series such as the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 10 play each year. ...

Following Wednesday's game, the Razorbacks will not practice until Dec. 26. Heath said all the players plan to go home for Christmas.

Arkansas players, asked by a TV reporter what they hoped Santa Claus would bring them, all said the ability to play a 40-minute game.

"I'm glad they said that," Heath said. "We'd like to take the second half of our Rice game to American Airlines Arena -- creating a tempo, forcing turnovers and making shots. We've got to play an 'A' type ball game for two halves."...

Arkansas has won three straight games against Big 12 teams; two over Missouri and one over Kansas. ...

Hogs forward Vincent Hunter of Little Rock was excused from practice Monday so he could to travel to be with his father, also named Vincent Hunter, who was hospitalized with an irregular heart beat.

TV Announcers
ESPN2 will carry Wednesday's game, with Brad Nessler and Fran Fraschilla at the microphones.

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