Hogs See Value Of Every Possession

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' coaching staff already had snuck a brief peek at Texas Tech before the Hogs' Thursday night victory over Oakland (Mich.).

But, immediately after the game, they headed up to their Bud Walton Arena offices and really got to work. They watched video. They took notes. They scripted out a game plan. Not much technical detail went down on paper.

When the Razorbacks (8-1) take on Texas Tech (8-3) at 1:05 p.m. today in Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, the coaches concluded that effort would determine the outcome. Sure, knocking down open shots will help. But more than anything, the Hogs will need to outwork, outscrap and outmuscle a Bob Knight team that's well-versed in the art of team basketball -- possession by possession.

"You've got to be as tough-minded and disciplined as they are," Arkansas assistant coach Dan Hipsher said. "You can't take a trip down the court off. Not one. You've got to take care of the little things as well as they do. You've got to understand that you've got to be patient and find good shots like they do."

In reality, these two old members of the Southwest Conference are quite similar. Both teams play impassioned defense. Both teams like to selectively run the fast break. Both teams employ a motion offense when those transition opportunities don't arise.So for Arkansas, a victory seems contingent on its ability to maintain a high level of intensity.

"We know what it's going to be all about," freshman Patrick Beverley said. "We got to outwork them. We got to come at them with the kind defense we've been showing most of the season."

There's no secret as to who will provide the stiffest challenge for Arkansas' defense. Jarrius Jackson, one of four returning starters for Texas Tech, can score from all over the court.

He slashes for dunks. He pulls up for jumpers. He nails shots from 3-point range. He's the whole package.

"He's one of the top scorers around," junior Vincent Hunter said.

But even if Arkansas loses Jackson from time to time, the Razorbacks are starting to click offensively. They scored 91 points Thursday night, one short of their season high.

Still, except in Thursday's win, the Hogs have struggled to exhibit consistency for an entire 40-minute game. The Razorbacks have, though, kept their last three opponents under 62 points.

They'll need another complete effort today to extend Knight's journey toward college basketball's all-time wins record. Knight is three victories away from snapping Dean Smith's mark.

That's not to say that another milestone couldn't be set today. An Arkansas victory would give coach Stan Heath his 100th.

But none of the record talk is on the minds of the Razorbacks, who face a difficult seven-day stretch with other games against Texas and Oral Roberts.

"It's not about who's on the sideline," Beverley said. "The coaches can't get out there and (play defense). It's up to us to get to them every time they have the ball."

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