Welsh Insists He'll Play

RALEIGH, N.C. — Arkansas backup point guard Stefan Welsh insisted Saturday that he will play in today's second-round game against top-ranked North Carolina despite still being bothered by a sprained left ankle.

"I'm going to go tomorrow regardless," Welsh said. "As long as I'm going to be able to help my team in a positive way and I'm not going to be able to affect them (negatively), I'm going tomorrow."

Arkansas coach John Pelphrey, however, didn't sound as optimistic about Welsh's status when asked about it during a news conference.

"If we played today, he couldn't play," Pelphrey said. "... I would say at best he's doubtful."

Welsh injured his left ankle in the first half of Friday night's 86-72 win over Indiana when he landed on Armon Bassett's foot after missing a 3-pointer. The sophomore sat out the final 27 minutes, 18 seconds of the game because of the injury.

Welsh, who has provided the Razorbacks with a spark off the bench, has been getting various types of treatment on his ankle over the past day. He said he's not limping anymore, but his left foot still hurt Saturday morning.

"I had a real, real nagging pain in it, but it wasn't my ankle. It was like in my foot area," said Welsh, who jogged on the sidelines during Arkansas' afternoon practice Saturday. "It was real numb."

Welsh is averaging only 5.4 points per game, but he ranks third on Arkansas with 38 3-pointers this season. If he can't go, reserve guard Marcus Britt could possibly see some playing time.

"We've got an appeal into the NCAA to see if I can get into the game if he doesn't play," Pelphrey said jokingly.

Not A Roy Williams Guy

Steven Hill came close to playing for Roy Williams, but the Arkansas center decided it wasn't the right fit.

Hill, a Branson, Mo. native, took an official visit to Kansas when he was a junior in high school and Williams was still the Jayhawks' coach.

Hill said Williams recruited him hard, and when the time came for the center to sign with a school, his final decision was between Arkansas and Kansas.

"It was very serious. My final three schools to choose from were Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas and it really came down to Kansas and Arkansas," Hill said. "So it was pretty heavy recruitment. I got to know (Williams) a little bit."

Growing up, Hill was such a Kansas fan that he had Jayhawk sheets on his bed. But he signed with Arkansas anyway.

"We recruited Steven when I was at Kansas," Williams said. "(I) knew his family and the whole bit."

Butt of Jokes

North Carolina guard/forward Marcus Ginyard couldn't avoid the endless jokes from his teammates and the large number of text messages from his friends following Friday's 113-74 win over Mount St. Mary's.

Ginyard had one of the more embarrassing moments so far in the NCAA Tournament when he went up for a breakaway dunk, only to get rejected by the front of the rim in the opening minutes of the second half.

"The worst part about it was falling on my butt afterwards, so I got a lot of texts last night telling me how my butt was feeling," Ginyard said, smiling. "It's doing fine, thank you for the concern."

The junior laughed about the missed dunk and blamed it on feeling stiff after coming off the bench. But that didn't keep his teammates from razzing him about it.

"It looked pretty bad when we saw it last night on the news," North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson said. "It was terrible."

Unlikely Fan

Not everyone in Pelphrey's household is rooting against North Carolina star forward Tyler Hansbrough.

Turns out, Pelphrey's son, Jaxson, is a big fan of the All-American.

"(The) only problem I have with Hansbrough is he's my son's favorite player, and I'm still not sure how that worked out," Pelphrey said jokingly. "But there's some issues there that I will have to work on later when this thing is over and done with."





Arkansas trainer Dave England tends to injured Stefan Welsh while Patrick Beverley comforts his teammate.


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