MEN'S BASKETBALL: Five Keys To An Arkansas Vi

1. SPREAD THE WEALTH Sure, Arkansas senior Sonny Weems is on a scoring tear, averaging 19.1 points per Southeastern Conference game. And sure, sophomore Patrick Beverley is dangerous any time he touches the basketball. But for the Razorbacks to succeed, they must get substantial points from multiple players.

First-year coach John Pelphrey always talks about offensive balance, and Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy knows how difficult guarding the Hogs becomes when they find it.

"I think they have lot of weapons," Kennedy said. "Sonny Weems is playing great ball, and Patrick Beverley scares me to death because you know about the energy he's going to play with. The frontline also poses a number of problems because of the depth, because of the weapons."

2. EMBRACE THE STAKES

This isn't any normal game for Arkansas. This sets the tone for its SEC second half. The Razorbacks can either hit the road feeling good, with a 6-2 SEC mark.

Or they can head to Tennessee and Mississippi State with a 5-3 league record. They aren't likely to come out without the type of intensity they showed in wins over Mississippi State and Florida, but Pelphrey will warn them anyway.

"There's just a lot at stake for everybody right now," Pelphrey said. "Saturday will be the midpoint of (the SEC) for everybody. These games are going to start feeling like they're worth two and three instead of just one."

3. MORE TEAM BASKETBALL

The Razorbacks can credit their three-game winning streak to an increased commitment to the team. Early in the season, at times, Arkansas played selfishly. The Razorbacks didn't dive on the floor for loose balls, and they didn't constantly hustle.

Not the case recently, and that must continue.

"Nobody is growing any taller, nobody is running any faster and nobody is jumping any higher," Pelphrey said. "There was a collective decision made by those young men that they're going to be a basketball team. They weren't going to be consumed by who scores and by whose name is in the headlines. Winning is the only thing that is important."

4. FIRE CROWD UP EARLY

Beverley knows of only one way to do this: defense, defense and more defense.

"We get some stops, get some steals, and all of a sudden you can't hear out there," Beverley said. "That can't be easy for teams to deal with. So we know that our defense fuels everything."

5. PLAY PHYSICAL, BUT SMART

Foul trouble has plagued the Arkansas big men often this season. And today, they will need to watch out.

A physical Ole Miss frontcourt is capable of putting players such as Steven Hill, Michael Washington, Darian Townes and Charles Thomas on the bench with early fouls.

OLE MISS REBELS (16-4, 3-4)

TEAM GLANCE

• COACH: Andy Kennedy (2nd season)

• LAST TIME OUT: Ole Miss lost to South Carolina 80-77 on Feb. 2 in Oxford, Miss.

• KEY INJURIES: F Jermey Parnell, ankle, questionable

LINEUPS

PROBABLE STARTERS

Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

G Chris Warren 5-11 Junior 16.0 2.4

G Eniel Polynice 6-5 Sophomore 12.6 5.4

G Zach Graham 6-5 Freshman 6.5 2.5

F Kenny Williams 6-8 Senior 7.9 7.7

C Dwayne Curtis 6-8 Senior 15.1 8.9

KEY RESERVES

G David Huertas 6-5 Sophomore 8.7 3.5

G Trevor Gaskins 6-2 Freshman 8.1 2.1

F Malcolm White 6-9 Freshman 2.9 1.8

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (16-5, 5-2)

TEAM GLANCE

• COACH: John Pelphrey (1st season)

• LAST TIME OUT: Arkansas beat Florida 80-61 on Feb. 2 in Fayetteville

• KEY INJURIES: None

LINEUPS

PROBABLE STARTERS

Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

G Stefan Welsh 6-2 Sophomore 4.9 1.6

G Patrick Beverley 6-1 Sophomore 12.0 6.9

C Steven Hill 7-0 Senior 5.2 3.1

F Michael Washington 6-10 Sophomore 5.7 4.8

F Sonny Weems 6-6 Senior 14.5 4.6

KEY RESERVES

F Charles Thomas 6-8 Senior 10.4 5.0

G Gary Ervin 6-0 Senior 9.0 2.5

F Darian Townes 6-10 Senior 10.9 4.9

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