Ervin Provides NCAA Tournament Experience

RALEIGH, N.C. — No Razorback will bring more NCAA Tournament experience to Friday night's first-round East Regional matchup with Indiana than senior point guard Gary Ervin. Ervin is 2-3 in NCAA Tournament play, posting a 2-2 mark during his two seasons at Mississippi State and being a part of Arkansas' 77-60 first-round loss last season to Southern California.

As a reserve his freshman season at Mississippi State, the Lawrence Roberts-led Bulldogs entered the tournament as a No. 2 seed with a 25-3 record.

Ervin had 11 points in 22 minutes on 4-of-5 shooting in the Bulldogs' first-round defeat of Monmouth. Two days later, seventh-seeded hit 13 3-pointers to upset Rick Stansbury's team — Ervin had nine points and a team-high five assists in 18 minutes.

The next season, as a No. 9 seed with a 23-11 mark, "no one gave us a chance to beat Stanford," Ervin said. But the Bulldogs did just that 93-70, getting five points from Ervin in 29 minutes.

Mississippi State nearly upset Duke, in Greensboro, N.C., two days later. Ervin experienced his worst game in the tournament that day, shooting 1-for-8 with three points and five assists in 32 minutes.

"The experiences were great, though, to go out there and win some games and play some high-powered teams with great tradition like Duke," Ervin said.

Ervin again struggled with his shot in last season's tournament, hitting just three of his 12 attempts to score seven points in Arkansas' first-round loss.

Confident In Shot

Sophomore guard Stefan Welsh couldn't hide his frustration most of this season. He'd come out in practice and make 3-pointers exactly like he had his entire life. Then, in games, he'd misfire.

But with the help of his coaches and teammates, who remained positive with him, Welsh has started to get hot from beyond the arc. He hit 2-of-3 3s in Arkansas' regular season-ending victory against Auburn, 3-of-5 in its win over Vanderbilt and 4-of-6 in its defeat of Tennessee.

Welsh, who is now shooting 33 percent from long range, went scoreless in the SEC Tournament Championship Game but spoke this week like that wouldn't affect him.

"I haven't shot the ball like this all year," Welsh said. "I'm very confident in my stroke and I thank (Arkansas) Coach (John Pelphrey). He was just telling me, ‘When you're on, if it's the right shot, take it. Don't hesitate. If you fee like you can shoot it, then make the shot.'"

Welsh is also excited about seeing some familiar faces Friday. The Newport News, Va., native said he expected 25 to 30 family members to make the two-hour, 45-minute drive to the Raleigh, N.C..

"It's just a blessing to be able to go back home and be able to play in front of so many people who have created who I am," Welsh said.

Weems Practices

Arkansas' leading scorer, Sonny Weems, took part in portions of the Hogs' practices Wednesday. Weems left Arkansas' first practice on Tuesday early after twisting his knee and sat out that day's second practice.

He wasn't at full strength on Wednesday, but Weems isn't expected to be hindered during Arkansas' first-round game Friday night against Indiana, team spokesman Robby Edwards said.

"He didn't do everything," Edwards said. "But the plan all along was for him to take part in a limited part of practice (Wednesday) with the expectation of being fine for Friday."

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