Midnight at Bud Walton Arena

With a battle between Arkansas (10-3) and Baylor (11-1) looming Saturday night, Razorback head coach John Pelphrey celebrated the arrival of 2008 by having his team practicing as the new year came in.

Like John Pelphrey's mom told him – as no doubt did many of our parents – nothing good happens after midnight.

So, he saw no reason not to bring in 2008 on the basketball court which is precisely what the the University of Arkansas basketball team did from 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve until after 1 a.m.

"Obviously New Year's is a tough holiday just from the standpoint that it is late," Pelphrey said. "My mom always told me that nothing good happens after midnight. With our basketball team I just didn't want then getting out – not so much worried about them as everyone else."

Pelphrey said it was something that he went through while playing at Kentucky for Rick Pitino.

"It seems like it is almost a time where that day or that night or that evening, it gives everybody permission to act a certain way they don't act the rest of the year," Pelphrey added. "So we started at 11 and had a little water toast at midnight and got right back to practice and ended up getting out here right after 1.

"…I think we just tried to structure things in a way that was most protective of our players as we probably could," Pelphrey added.

Pelphrey, whose Razorbacks (10-3) play Baylor (11-1) Saturday night in a 7:35 game at Dallas' American Airlines Center, was actually joking about the water toast part.

"I didn't know when it actually came because I was going through a tough period there where there was a little bit of frustration in practice," Pelphrey said. "I was trying to correct a few things, but somehow a couple of guys found out and a couple of them were very excited about it being midnight to my surprise."

Speaking of surprising, Baylor was just 15-16 last season, but is off to a 11-1 start this season with 11 players playing over 11 minutes a game and four guards shooting over 40 percent from 3-point range.

Arkansas is coming off a 85-60 win over Louisiana-Monroe last Saturday afternoon while Baylor blasted Florida A&M 84-61 on New Year's Eve.

Point guard Henry Dugat had 21 points and fellow guard Curtis Jerrell 19 in the win.

It is quite the turnaround from when head coach Scott Drew took over a Bears' program that was embroiled in turmoil with NCAA violations and included the murder of one player by another.

"Obviously Scott Drew has done a wonderful job," Pelphrey said. "I am not incredibly familiar with what is going on down there, but obviously having some time to get ready for this team and see what is going on and this and that. They have a lot of offensive talent at that guard spot."

Baylor's only loss was to No. 4 Washington State 67-64 at home.

The Bears have whipped Wichita State, Notre Dame, Winthrop among others this season and also rallied from 20 points down to win at South Carolina.

"We are going to have to play and do well against an outstanding team," Pelphrey said. "This a team whose only loss has been to a top 10 team by a single basket."

Arkansas senior forwards Charles Thomas and Sonny Weems both missed practice to attend to personal matters, but both were back at practice on Thursday.

Pelphrey is looking forward to playing in Dallas at the home of the Dallas Mavericks.

"I am looking forward to playing in a great environment," Pelphrey said. "I had a chance to grow up around Coach (Eddie) Sutton and hear some great stories about playing in Dallas. I know it is not Reunion Arena, but it is Dallas and from what I understand we are going to have a tremendous amount of fans there that will be very, very passionate."

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