BASKETBALL: Five Keys To An Arkansas Victory

1. HOLD VOLS UNDER 80 No Southeastern Conference foe of No. 4 Tennessee's has been able to do it yet at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Volunteers, winners of 28 straight games at home, scored 85 against Ole Miss, 80 against Vanderbilt, 85 against Georgia and 104 against Florida.

First in the SEC during league play in points per game (79.6), Tennessee has as many offensive threats as any team in the nation. The Razorbacks, second during SEC play in scoring defense (66.1), must get consistent defensive effort from all five players on the court at all times.

"We can't play defense for 30 minutes, 32 minutes, even 38 minutes," Arkansas point guard Gary Ervin said. "We have to play the full 40 minutes to get this victory."

2. BE STRONG WITH THE BALL

Tennessee's guards love to slap the basketball away from their opponents. They don't mind gambling one bit, going for the steal as often as possible.

The Volunteers' starting guards, Ramar Smith, Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith have recorded 38 steals in nine SEC games.

"They close out hard," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "Sometimes they don't close out to a shooter, they close out to a passing lane. They're outstanding with their hands. If you get the basketball in the lane and you put it down on the deck, they're reaching, slapping.

"They're great with their hands."

3. USE HEIGHT ADVANTAGE

The Razorbacks possess one indisputable edge on Tennessee.

Their size in the frontcourt is superior to Tennessee's. The Volunteers start athletic sophomore forwards Tyler Smith (6-foot-7) and Wayne Chism (6-9), but they can't match the depth or height of Arkansas' forwards and centers.

"We're going to pound it inside," Arkansas senior Sonny Weems said. "We're going to get Darian (Townes), Steven (Hill), Mike (Washington) and Charles (Thomas), and we're going to just pound them out."

4. I.D. 3-POINT SHOOTERS

When the Volunteers fast break, which is often, their shooters don't necessarily sprint toward the basket. Players such as Lofton and both Smiths float to the 3-point line, to open spots.

And that's why the Vols lead the SEC during league play with 86 3-pointers.

"We have to get back, that's the first thing," Ervin said. "But we also have to find their shooters quick."

5. TUNE OUT THE CROWD

Thompson-Boling Arena will be rocking. More than 21,000 orange-clad Volunteers fans will pack the stands in Knoxville, and the environment will be intimidating to say the least.

Arkansas must try to tune it out.

"What I'd like to see, is it not affect us in terms of what we're doing," Pelphrey said.

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (17-5, 6-2)

TEAM GLANCE

• COACH: John Pelphrey (1st season)

• LAST TIME OUT: Arkansas beat Ole Miss 75-69 on Feb. 9 in Fayetteville

• KEY INJURIES: None

LINEUPS

PROBABLE STARTERS

Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

G Stefan Welsh 6-2 Sophomore 4.8 1.6

G Patrick Beverley 6-1 Sophomore 12.2 7.1

C Steven Hill 7-0 Senior 5.1 3.2

F Michael Washington 6-10 Sophomore 5.7 4.8

F Sonny Weems 6-6 Senior 14.9 4.8

KEY RESERVES

F Charles Thomas 6-8 Senior 10.0 4.9

G Gary Ervin 6-0 Senior 9.0 2.5

F Darian Townes 6-10 Senior 11.0 4.9

TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (21-2, 8-1)

TEAM GLANCE

• COACH: Bruce Pearl (3rd season)

• LAST TIME OUT: Tennessee beat LSU 47-45 on Feb. 9 in Baton Rouge, La.

• KEY INJURIES: None

LINEUPS

PROBABLE STARTERS

Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

G Ramar Smith 6-2 Sophomore 8.1 2.3

G Chris Lofton 6-2 Senior 15.7 3.2

G JaJuan Smith 6-2 Senior 14.2 3.2

F Tyler Smith 6-7 Sophomore 13.4 6.2

F Wayne Chism 6-9 Sophomore 8.7 6.0

KEY RESERVES

G J.P. Prince 6-7 Sophomore 9.0 3.6

F Duke Crews 6-7 Sophomore 6.4 4.5

G Jordan Howell 6-3 Senior 6.0 1.4

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