THE GAME: Arkansas plays host to Wake Forest in the second round of the preseason NIT. UA won its first round game, 64-47, over Maine on Monday while the Demon Deacons beat North Carolina-Wilmington, 79-78.
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 analyst.
FOUR FOR 500: UA head coach Nolan Richardson needs just four wins to reach 500 for his career. In his 17th season at Arkansas, and his 21st overall, he is 496-192 (.721). In 16-plus years at Arkansas, he is 377-155 (.709).
OTHER SECOND ROUND GAMES: Other second-round games are (Wednesday): DePaul at Syracuse and Oklahoma at Michigan State; and (Thursday): USC at Fresno State. The Arkansas-Wake Forest winner plays the Southern Cal-Fresno State winner. The Syracuse-DePaul winner plays the Oklahoma-Michigan State winner. The semifinals and finals are Nov. 21 and 23 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
UA IN THE NIT: Arkansas has participated in the National Invitation Tournament four times, twice in the postseason and twice in the preseason. The Razorbacks are 7-4 in the NIT.
PRESEASON HONORS & PREDICTIONS: Jannero Pargo has been named to preseason All-SEC teams selected by The Sporting News (second) and by Lindy’s Basketball (third).
THE WAKE FOREST SERIES: Wake Forest leads the series 3-2 with the two teams playing as recently as two years ago. WFU leads 1-0 in Fayetteville and 2-0 at neutral sites while UA leads 2-0 at Winston-Salem, N.C. The Demon Deacons won in Bud Walton Arena in the last meeting between the two on Dec. 20, 1999, 70-64. Four of the five meetings have been decided by six points or less.
THE LAST MEETING(S): On Dec. 20, 1999, in Bud Walton Arena, Wake Forest and Arkansas each shot 37 percent from the field and made 23 of 61 shots, but the Razorbacks forced just 14 turnovers, while losing the ball 13 times, and the Demon Deacons were 19 of 29 at the free-throw line while the Hogs were just 10 of 21. Robert O’Kelley led WFU with 15 points while Broderick Hicks and Antwan Scott added 12 each as the Deacons posted a 70-64 victory. Chris Walker was the only Razorback in double figures with 15 points.
FAMILIAR FOE: With a home-and-home series in 1999 and 2000, several players will see familiar opposing faces Friday. Wake Forest featues six players who have faced Arkansas at least once and four who have played against the Hogs twice. Arkansas has eight players who played in one of the previous meetings but only two who played in both games.
THE MAINE GAME: Arkansas shot just 36.5 percent from the field, but the Razorbacks held Maine to 35.4 percent while getting 26 more shot attempts than the Black Bears, thanks in large part to forcing 29 turnovers. UA scored 39 points off those turnovers. Teddy Gipson made seven of 10 shots and led the Hogs with 15 points. Jannero Pargo and freshman J.J. Sullinger added 10 each while Dionisio Gomez had a team-high seven rebounds to go with six points. Errick Greene led Maine with 16 points while Clayton Brown had 13, but each had seven turnovers.
PRESEASON LEADERS: It doesn’t count in UA’s official stats, but in the two exhibition games, Charles Tatum was the leading scorer for the Razorbacks with 15.5 points a game on 12 of 20 shooting. Dionisio Gomez averaged 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals; Alonzo Lane 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 assists; and Teddy Gipson 11 points and 3 rebounds per contest. T.J. Cleveland led the team with averages of 4.5 assists and 3 steals.
…The 19 steals against Maine ties the 10th-highest single-game total in UA history.
…Against Maine, Brandon Dean’s four offensive rebounds are a career high while Blake Eddins’ three steals match his personal best.
…T.J. Cleveland has made 77 of his last 98 free throws (.786).
…Arkansas is 25-5 when Brandon Dean scores in double figures.
…Over the last six games, going back to the last five of 2001, Teddy Gipson is shooting 58.5 percent from the field (24-41) and averaging 12.0 points a game.
…Alonzo Lane has made 50 percent of his shots, or better, in 40 of 66 games.
…Of Charles Tatum’s 81 career field goals, 51 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.
SEC LEADERS: In the 2001 final team rankings, Arkansas led the Southeastern Conference in field goal defense (.404), steals (11.77), turnover margin (+7.0) and three-point goals per game. In league games only, the Hogs led in steals (10.12) and turnover margin (+3.25). Individually, T.J. Cleveland was second in steals (1.97) and Larry Satchell was third in blocked shots (1.45). In conference games only, Brandon Dean was second in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.0) and Jannero Pargo was third in three-point goals per game (2.56).
TRAIL OF THREES: With five three-pointers against Maine, the Razorbacks have now made at least one three-pointer in 431 consecutive games. UA made at least one trey in every game it played in the 1990s.
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.
Arkansas’ Game-By-Game Starting Lineups
Maine (11-12): Gipson, Pargo, Dean, Lane, Gomez
Records for Starting Combinations:
Gipson, Pargo, Dean, Lane, Gomez: 1-0 (Maine)