It's just a little exhibition basketball between friends.
That's the stage for Tuesday night when the University of Arkansas hosts NAIA power Campbellsville match up in a 7:05 p.m. game at Bud Walton Arena.
The game's coaching match-up features Razorback head coach John Pelphrey and Trojans' head coach Keith Adkins, who played together at Paintsville (KY.) High back in the day.
"He is a special guy to me in my life," Pelphrey said of Atkins. "He was a teammate of mine in high school in both baseball and basketball. He's a smart guy. The reason I say that is that he understood as a sophomore that his job was to throw me the basketball. He did that well."
Campbellsville, a school located in city of the same name in Kentucky and one that is ranked fourth in one pre-season NAIA national poll and sixth in the other, lost to Western Kentucky 94-67 in exhibition play Thursday night.
The Trojans, who had 30 turnovers against Western Kentucky, then opened their regular season with an 86-84 loss to fellow NAIA power Union on Saturday.
"They've got a good basketball team," Pelphrey said. "I think some publication had them ranked fourth. They play in a very competitive environment with the other schools in Kentucky and one team from West Virginia in their league. They will provide a challenge."
Campbellsville will be without its best player in 6-8 NAIA All-American Zach Allender, a senior who injured his knee this summer and is still not ready to go.
Allender averaged 20 points per game last season for the Trojans during a 27-7 season.
"Can this be the best team we've had here at Campbellsville? It can be. I don't know that it is yet because we've got strides to make defensively to get there," Adkins said. "We've got a lot to prove to deserve our high pre-season rankings. Those rankings may be a little high at this point for us, but it shows the hard work and dedication that we put in to be recognized like that. Now we've got to go out on the floor and earn those rankings to prove we deserve them."
Arkansas' players certainly got some confidence with a 117-43 pasting of West Florida last Friday night in the opening game of its two-game exhibition slate.
Just in case his team might get too full of itself, Pelphrey put them through tough workouts on the weekend – including two on Sunday.
"I think sometimes our players are surprised how hard we are going," Pelphrey said. "Maybe they don't totally understand the reasons why sometimes. At their age, that's probably why we have to coach them.
"If they understood everything that was going on, then wouldn't need a coach or a teacher or a mentor or anybody else of interest in their life," Pelphrey said. "…We are still working through some of those things, but that is why we have exhibition games – to get a routine down and figured out."
That will also include a workout on game days instead of just a shoot-around.
"It won't be a full-scale practice, but we won't be walking around and they will break a sweat," Pelphrey said. "We want to work on certain things and we want it to be full speed.
"I think the day of the game is important," Pelphrey added. "If you start taking it off the day before the game, soft the day of the game, then by the time you all come together it is like a day off. And we've got to take a day off because of the NCAA rule-wise, so that would be going hard less than 50 percent of the time."
Sonny Weems, who only got to play seven minutes Friday night due to an groin injury, should be fine and ready to go on Tuesday per Pelphrey.
"He practiced yesterday twice so he should be okay," Pelphrey said.
Fans showing up should plan to see a lot of the same things from their Razorbacks that they brought out last Friday.
"We will continue to try and stretch the floor, extend it with our pressure, get some easy baskets and fouls and on defense want to shrink it up," Pelphrey said. "We hope to take time off the shot clock and bring fatigue into play, eliminate easy baskets in the halfcourt, play as a unit and offensively be as fast as we possibly can."
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