After big win over UK, UT must focus for UA

Coming off a Saturday afternoon win over the second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, the Tennessee men's basketball team endured a productive practice Tuesday evening in Pratt Pavilion. Up next for the Vols is the second place team in the SEC West in the Arkansas Razorbacks (14-15, 7-7.

Coming off a Saturday afternoon win over the second-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, the Tennessee men's basketball team endured a productive practice Tuesday evening in Pratt Pavilion.

Up next for the Vols is the second place team in the SEC West in the Arkansas Razorbacks (14-15, 7-7).

Last season, it took a 15-foot bucket from guard Bobby Maze with 5.4 seconds remaining for the Volunteers to pull off the win on the road in Fayetteville, Ark.

With SEC and NCAA tournament seeding hanging in the balance, a win for either team could drastically change the path to a seasonal finale.

"They're just a much better team than they were a year ago," Pearl said. "It starts with Fortson and Clarke. Fortson is as tough a cover as Devan Downey, but he's got a better cast. Rotnei Clarke is a good of a shooter as there is in college basketball."

Pearl wasn't shy about his respect for sophomore guard Courtney Fortson, who in only 15 games this season is averaging 18.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Fortson missed the first 14 games of the regular season due to a violation of team rules.

"Courtney Fortson is like a Devan Downey on steroids," Pearl said. "He's a very effective player."

When first examining the schedule, the Razorbacks may not scream dangerous, with losses to South Alabama, East Tennessee State and Baylor across the board.

But when you look closer, you notice wins over Mississippi State and South Carolina, as well as impressive back-to-back road victories at Ole Miss and Georgia.

"You look at their SEC record," Pearl said. "They won five in a row, they've won on the road, they won at Georgia, and nobody's won at Georgia."

"That's the reason why they're second in the west. We're not overlooking them."

In Bruce Pearl's tenure at Tennessee, Arkansas has delivered as many headaches as any conference foe for the fifth year coach.

Pearl is 3-2 against the Razorbacks, including a painful 91-92 loss to Arkansas in the 2008 SEC tournament in Atlanta.

If the same 21,214 fans that showed up Saturday against Kentucky rock the arena on senior night, it could be a long night for the Razorbacks.

"I know the fans, they're like ‘well we beat Kentucky,'" Pearl said. "The energy's got to be there tomorrow. These are three great players that have given their all to Tennessee, so I hope we have a great turnout."

Wednesday night will be the last time that center Wayne Chism, forward J.P. Prince and guard Bobby Maze suit up for a game in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Also suiting up for his final game is guard Quinn Cannington, a former Fulton High School standout, who led the Falcons to a district championship as a junior.


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