RADIO/TV INFORMATION: The game is being broadcast on radio over the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network, which includes more than 60 affiliates. Mike Nail handles the play-by-play while former Razorback and NBA player Joe Kleine is the color analyst.
500 WINS: UA head coach Nolan Richardson became the 18th active NCAA Division I head coach with 500 career victories when the Razorbacks beat North Carolina-Greensboro, 89-74, on Dec. 10 in Fayetteville. In his 17th season at Arkansas, and his 22nd overall, he is 506-200 (.717). In 17 years at Arkansas, he is 387-163 (.704).
THE ALABAMA SERIES: Arkansas leads the all-time series 18-13 but the Crimson Tide holds an 8-4 edge in Tuscaloosa. Arkansas leads 7-3 in Fayetteville and 7-2 at neutral sites. The Razorbacks have won three straight. Alabama won the four previous meetings and Arkansas the three meetings before Alabama’s four-game streak. Arkansas hasn’t won back-to-back games in Tuscaloosa since the 1995, ’96 and ’97 seasons when the Hogs won three straight on the road.
FLORIDA RECAP: Arkansas had its best shooting day in six games and broke a four-game losing streak behind a career-high 35-point performance from Jannero Pargo as the Razorbacks upset No. 4 Florida, 94-92, in overtime Saturday in Fayetteville. Florida had a 51-31 rebounding edge and took 14 more free throws and made four more than the Hogs, but UA had 16 steals and forced 25 turnovers to get the win. The Gators led by two at the half, 42-40, and Arkansas missed a shot in the final nine seconds of regulation to win the game, sending the contest to an extra period tied, 81-81. In the overtime, the Razorbacks made five of seven shots and Pargo’s pull-up 14-footer with 2.7 seconds left was the difference. Pargo made 10 of 16 shots, including seven of eight three-pointers. UA’s other double figure scorers are true freshmen. Michael Jones had a season-high 15 points on five of nine shooting while J.J. Sullinger had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists. Brett Nelson led Florida with 23 while Udonis Haslem had 19 points and 13 rebounds.
DEAN INJURY UPDATE: Senior guard Brandon Dean, who is having the best season of his career and the best year of any Razorback, was knocked out of the Ole Miss (Jan. 19) game when he was injured after being fouled while going in for a layup with 1:25 to play. An MRI on his right knee showed no ligament or cartilage damage, but he did suffer a sprained knee and a bone bruise. He could have missed up to a month, but began running and motion treatment on Monday (Jan. 21), practiced on Tuesday (Jan. 22) and played at Georgia on Wednesday (Jan. 23), logging 21 minutes and making two of seven shots for eight points. In the win over No. 4 Florida on Saturday, he started and played 33 minutes. He made just two of nine shots for four points, but added three assists, two blocked shots and three steals.
UA AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Arkansas is 2-3 against ranked teams this season, losing to then-No. 5 Illinois, 94-91, then-No. 6 Oklahoma State, 85-76, beating then-No. 22 Mississippi State, 75-64, losing at then-No. 15 Georgia, 81-67, and beating then-No. 4 Florida, 94-92, in overtime in Fayetteville on Saturday. Prior to the Florida win, the last time UA beat a team ranked in the top five was the end of the 1998-99 season when the Razorbacks beat No. 5 Kentucky, 74-70, and No. 2 Auburn, 104-88, in consecutive home contests on Feb. 20 and Feb. 24, respectively.
NOTING THE FLORIDA WIN: It snapped Arkansas’ longest SEC losing streak ever at four; snapped Arkansas’ longest overall losing streak since 1986 when the Razorbacks dropped four straight Southwest Conference tilts; snapped a streak of four straight games in which Arkansas scored less than 70 points, the longest streak for the Razorbacks since 1986; snapped a two-game losing streak in Bud Walton Arena, the first since the end of the 2000 season when UA dropped back-to-back games to Florida and LSU; gave the Razorbacks their first win in six games this year when trailing at the half (42-40); improved UA to 9-4 this year when forcing 20 or more turnovers; improved UA to 4-1 in its last five overtime games, going back to 1999 season; Jannero Pargo scored a career-high 35 points; Charles Tatum matched his career high of four steals; and Michael Jones had a season-high 15 points.
GIPSON CLOSING IN ON 1,000TH CAREER POINT: Senior Teddy Gipson is attempting to become the second Razorback to score his 1,000th career point this year. Brandon Dean’s 18-point performance against South Carolina on Jan. 16 put the Monroe, La., native in Arkansas’ 1,000-point club. Dean became the 26th Razorback to score 1,000 career points and already ranks 25th on the list with 1,030 points. Dean entered the year with 775 points.
PARGO SEC POW: Jannero Pargo’s career-high 35-point outing against Florida was his third 30-point game of the season and earned him his second SEC Player of the Week honor of the season and the third of his career. He averaged 26.5 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds for the week while shooting 51.5 percent (17-33) from the field, including 60 percent (9-15) from three-point range. Pargo’s 35 points is the most for a UA player since Al Dillard scored 39 against Delaware State in 1994. He is the first Razorback to reach 30 points three times in the same season since Todd Day in 1992. Pargo earlier had 32 points against Tennessee-Chattanooga and 30 at Memphis. Day had 43 points against LSU, 39 against Alabama and 35 against Auburn. Day’s performance against LSU is also the last 40-point game for Arkansas. Day is also the last Hog to record four 30-point outings in the same season, scoring 30 or more points five times in 1991 with 33 against Alabama-Birmingham, 31 against Jackson State and Alabama; and 30 against Florida State and Houston.
BENCH PRODUCTION: Arkansas’ style of play under head coach Nolan Richardson means the Razorbacks play more players than most other programs in the nation, so naturally the Hogs will get more points and rebounds off the bench than other clubs. So far this year, 37 percent of UA’s points (553 of 1,482) and 39 percent of the team’s rebounds (229 of 590) are coming off the bench. The highest bench totals came against No. 4 Florida when UA’s reserves scored 68 points and against Tennessee-Chattanooga when the bench claimed 19 rebounds.
HOGS PLAYED SIXTH-TOUGHEST SLATE: Several SEC teams have better records than Arkansas, but only one has played a tougher schedule, according to CollegeRPI.com. Kentucky has played the fifth-toughest schedule in the nation. Arkansas’ slate is rated the sixth-most difficult. Tennessee is next in the SEC at No. 9. In other rankings, UA is No. 52 in the Sagarin Rankings, which ranks eighth in the league, and No. 36 in the College.RPI.com poll, which ranks sixth in the conference. All rankings are based on games through Jan. 24.
PARGO CLIMBING UA’S CAREER THREE-POINT CHART: With the seven treys against Florida, Jannero Pargo moved within two threes of the No. 5 spot on Arkansas’ career three-point field goals made list while Brandon Dean is also moving up the chart.
Three-Point Field Goals Made Three-Point Field Goals Attempted Three-Point Field Goal Percentage
1. Pat Bradley, 1996-99 366 1. Pat Bradley, 1996-99 915 1. Scotty Thurman, 1993-95 .432
2. Scotty Thurman, 1993-95 267 2. Scotty Thurman, 1993-95 618 T2. Lee Mayberry, 1989-92 .424
3. Todd Day, 1989-92 226 3. Todd Day, 1989-92 588 T2. Jannero Pargo, 2001-02 .424
4. Lee Mayberry, 1989-92 218 4. Lee Mayberry, 1989-92 514 4. Al Dillard, 1994-95 .401
5. Al Dillard, 1994-95 138 5. Kareem Reid, 1996-92 406 5. Pat Bradley, 1996-99 .400
6. Jannero Pargo, 2001-02 136 6. Brandon Dean, 1999-02 383 6. Todd Day, 1989-92 .384
7. Brandon Dean, 1999-02 133 7. Tarik Wallace, 1997-98 375
8. Jannero Pargo, 2001-02 321
…Following the Alabama game, Arkansas will have played teams ranked No. 4 (Florida), No. 5 (Illinois), No. 6 (Oklahoma State) and No. 8 (Alabama) at the time of the game, in addition to No. 15 (Georgia) and No. 22 (Mississippi State).
…Junior forward Larry Satchell dislocated his right thumb in the game at Georgia. Although still slowed by the injury, he was available for the Florida game, but did not play.
…In UA’s eight losses, opponents are 181 of 244 (.742) at the free throw line while the Hogs are 99 of 170 (.582). In UA’s 11 wins, opponents are 185 of 296 (.625) while the Razorbacks are 163 of 252 (.647).
…When true freshman J.J. Sullinger reaches double figures in scoring, the Hogs are 9-2.
…When Teddy Gipson hits a three-pointer, Arkansas is 7-3 this year.
…When T.J. Cleveland makes three or more steals in a game, UA is 5-0 this season.
…Arkansas is 32-11 when Brandon Dean scores in double figures.
…Alonzo Lane has made 50 percent of his shots, or better, in 49 of 82 games.
…Of Charles Tatum’s 101 career field goals, 63 are three-pointers.
SEC PREDICTIONS: Arkansas has been picked by the media to finish second in the SEC’s Western Division behind Alabama. The Hogs received five first-place votes to 15 for the Crimson Tide. Kentucky is the pick to win the Eastern Division and the overall title ahead of Florida. The rest of the order in the West is predicted to be Ole Miss third, Auburn fourth, LSU fifth and Mississippi State sixth. In the East, Florida is followed by Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt.
CONSECUTIVE POST-SEASON APPEARANCES: With last year’s selection to the NCAA Tournament, the Razorbacks made their 15th consecutive national tournament appearance. Over the last 15 years, Arkansas has played in the NCAAs 13 times and the NIT twice. Over that stretch, the NCAA years include 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989 and 1988. The NIT seasons were 1997 and 1987.
TRAIL OF THREES: With 11 three-pointers against Florida, the Razorbacks have now made at least one three-pointer in 449 consecutive games. UA made at least one trey in every game it played in the 1990s. The last time UA failed to make a three was in a 99-92 win at Texas in January 1989, and the Hogs attempted just two three-pointers in that contest. Arkansas has played 513 games since the three-pointer was added to college basketball and failed to make a three in only six games. UA won those six games.
STARTING LINEUP: Your guess is probably as good as anyone else’s. In 2000, head coach Nolan Richardson used 22 different starting combinations in 34 games. Every player started at least once. In 31 games in 2001, 19 different lineups took the floor. Richardson has long been known for shuffling his starting lineup. In fact, at Western Texas Junior College, Richardson would hold coin flips to see who would get the starting nod.
Arkansas’ Game-By-Game Starting Lineups
Maine (11-12): Gipson, Pargo, Dean, Lane, Gomez
Wake Forest (11-16): Gipson, Tatum, Dean, Lane, Gomez
ORU (11-18): Gipson, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez
Tulsa (11-28): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez
OU (11-30): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Lane, Gomez
SWT (12-4): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez
Illinois (12-8): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez
UNCG (12-10): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez
UTC (12-20): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez
OSU (12-22): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez
Elon (12- 29): Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Jordan, Gomez
Memphis (1-2): Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Jordan, Gomez
Auburn (1-5): Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Jordan, Gomez
MSU (1-8): Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Jordan, Gomez
LSU (1-13): Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Jordan, Gomez
USC (1-16): Dean, Eddins, Gipson, Lane, Gomez
Ole Miss (1-19): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Jordan, Gomez
Georgia (1-23): Cleveland, Pargo, Lane, Jordan, Gomez
Florida (1-26): Cleveland, Dean, Tatum, Baker, Gomez
Records for Starting Combinations:
Gipson, Pargo, Dean, Lane, Gomez: 1-0 (Maine)
Gipson, Tatum, Dean, Lane, Gomez: 0-1 (Wake Forest)
Gipson, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez: 1-0 (ORU)
Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez: 4-2 (Tulsa, SWT, Illinois, UNCG, UTC, OSU)
Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Lane, Gomez: 0-1 (OU)
Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Jordan, Gomez: 4-1 (Elon, Memphis, AU, MSU, LSU)
Dean, Eddins, Gipson, Lane, Gomez: 0-1 (USC)
Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Jordan, Gomez: 0-1 (Ole Miss)
Cleveland, Pargo, Lane, Jordan, Gomez: 0-1 (Georgia)
Cleveland, Dean, Tatum, Baker, Gomez: 1-0 (Florida)
MEDIA SERVICES: UA Coach Nolan Richardson usually holds press briefings two days prior to each game at 2 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena’s interview room. Players are also available on those days prior to the start of practice. A transcript of Richardson’s press conferences is available on UA’s official web site, hogwired.com. Game notes are available through media teamlink.