THE GAME: After consecutive road gmes, Arkansas (14-9, 5-6) returns home to face LSU (11-11, 1-10). The Razorbacks have dropped two straight since the win over then-No. 8 Tennessee while LSU is coming off an 81-74 overtime loss at home to No. 9 Florida on Tuesday.
RADIO/TV INFORMATION: Twenty-two of UA’s games are being televised this season while each game will be broadcast on radio on the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network. The radio network consists of more than 70 affiliates with Mike Nail handling play-by-play and former Razorback and recent NBA retiree Joe Kleine the color commentary.
THE SERIES: UA leads the all-time series 21-8 with an 8-1 lead in Fayetteville. UA leads 9-3 in Baton Rouge while the series is 4-4 at neutral sites. LSU swept last year’s season series, winning 96-75 at home and 78-67 at Arkansas, but the Razorbacks beat the Tigers, 69-67, in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament on the way to winning the league title, and won in Baton Rouge earlier this year, 59-52. Arkansas has won 17 of 20 meetings since joining the SEC.
HOGS AGAINST THE TIGERS: In four career games against LSU, Joe Johnson is averaging 14.0 points per contest. Against their home-state Tigers, Teddy Gipson is averaging 10.2 points in five meetings while Brandon Dean has scored 8.8 in six contests. Dean is shooting 51.2 percent (22-43) against LSU.
LAST TIME OUT: Arkansas held Auburn to 34 percent shooting, but the Razorbacks were even worse in dropping a 71-63 decision Wednesday. UA shot 28 percent in the first half and 32 for the game (23-71). Arkansas matched its season low of three three-point buckets and its .130 percentage from the arc (23 attempts) is a season low. Charles Tatum was the only Hog in double figures with 10 points. Joe Johnson had nine points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Larry Satchell, Jannero Pargo, Carl Baker and T.J. Cleveland all scored eight points each. Johnson and Pargo, UA’s leading scorers, were a combined seven of 31 from the floor. Scott Pohlman led the Tigers with 18.
BAD TRIP: Arkansas’ trip to Auburn got off to a bad start when fog forced the team to fly into Columbus, Ga., and bus 45 minutes to Auburn on Feb. 13. After the loss, the team had a bumpy flight through a storm on the way back to Fayetteville.
SCORING TRENDS: In five of UA’s nine losses, Arkansas’ point total was either 73 (three times) or 63 (the last two games). In four of UA’s five SEC wins, the Razorbacks scored between 82 and 87 points. The one exception, the 59-52 win at LSU.
THIS YEAR’S FIRST MEETING: Teddy Gipson scored a career-high 20 points on eight-of-13 shooting, and added three rebounds, two steals, one blocked shot and an assist to lead Arkansas to a 59-52 win at LSU on Jan 27. Joe Johnson scored all 15 of his points in the second half and Carl Baker had a season-high eight rebounds. LSU took a 42-39 lead with 7:18 to play, but Johnson scored two straight buckets and Gipson buried a three-pointer to give Arkansas the lead. LSU tied the game at 46-46, but T.J. Cleveland scored on a putback to give the Hogs the lead for good. Collis Temple led the Tigers with 16 points and Ronald Dupree had 14.
NO ORDINARY JOE: Joe Johnson, a Wooden Award and Naismith Player of the Year candidate, leads the team in scoring (13.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg), and is third in assists (55) and steals (34).
PARGO’S PRODUCTION: All-SEC candidate Jannero Pargo has been Arkansas’ most consistent player. The only noticeable difference is in his scoring. The SEC’s leader in three-point goals per game in conference play (3.0), is actually averaging more points against the SEC (15.9 ppg) than he is for the season (13.0).
BAKER’S BACK: Since returning from a back injury which forced him to miss four games, including UA’s 0-3 SEC start, Carl Baker has been a key player for the Razorbacks. Here’s what he’s done in his eight games back:
SATCHELL’S SWATS: Larry Satchell leads the team with 35 blocked shots with 14 of those coming in the last four games. He had a career-high matching five at Auburn. Earlier this season, he had a stretch of seven games with one or more blocks.
SADDLE UP SATCHELL: Okay, it wasn’t a workhorse-like effort, but Larry Satchell did log a career-high 23 minutes before fouling out at Auburn, and he had nice numbers while he was in the game with eight points, six rebounds and the five rejections. The eight points are the most he’s scored since he hit Maryland-Eastern Shore for his career high of 12 on Jan. 2, and the six rebounds are the most he’s had since getting seven at Vanderbilt on Jan. 13.
TATUM’S TURN?: With most of the team struggling shooting the ball, don’t be surprised if Charles Tatum gets a few more minutes. The sophomore led the team in scoring at Auburn with 10 points. He hit three-of-eight shots, including two three-pointers. He also had a career-high four rebounds and played a season-high 20 minutes. Since scoring 11 points in the win over then-No. 12 Alabama on Jan. 20, he had scored a total of 13 points in four games and played a total of 24 minutes.
LANE IN THE LANE: In six of the last eight games, and 12 of 23 for the year, Alonzo Lane has made 50 percent of his shots, or better. He’s shooting 55.1 percent for the year and 67.5 percent (27-40, 7.9 ppg) over the last eight contests.
IMPROVEMENTS OVER LAST SEASON: Despite two straight losses, Arkansas is in better shape than at this time last year. After 23 games last season, the Hogs were 13-10. Compared to last year, Arkansas is scoring more points and allowing fewer. Here’s the breakdown:
2001 .457 .362 .681 35.8 67.9 82.3
2000 .429 .351 .603 34.1 69.8 74.4
LOST LEADS: In six of Arkansas’ eight losses this year, the Razorbacks had sizeable leads in the first or second half, or both, but failed to hold the lead at the end. The chart below shows UA’s largest first- and second-half leads in those games, and the final score.
FOUL SHOOTING: In six of UA’s eight losses this year, the Razorbacks have had a decent percentage at the free throw line. The only problem is they didn’t get enough trips to the stripe to offset the number of free throws for the opponent. In those four games, UA is an average of 12-of-16 while opponents are an average 24-of-35. Here’s the breakdown.
RAZORBACK SPARE RIBS:
…Juniors Brandon Dean (Monroe) and Teddy Gipson (Farmerville) are playing against their home-state school Saturday. Gipson scored a career-high 20 points in this year’s first meeting.
…UA is 13-2 at home and 1-7 on the road. The Hogs are shooting 36.2 percent from three-point range at home and 33.5 percent away. UA’s free-throw percentage is better on the road (71.8%) than at home (67.0%). The major difference is overall shooting (48.4% at home and 38.4% away).
…UA is 0-6 when shooting below 40 percent. The Hogs are also 1-5 when scoring less than 70 points, but those weren’t the same six games. Arkansas lost 87-73 at Mississippi State when it shot 33.8 percent, and shot 42 percent in the 59-52 win at LSU.
…Six of Arkansas’ eight losses have come in games played on Saturday. The Hogs are 6-6 on Saturdays. The other losses came on Wednesdays, both against Ole Miss.
TRAIL OF THREES: With three three-pointers against Auburn, the Razorbacks have now made at least one three-pointer in 422 consecutive games. UA made at least one trey in every game it played during the 1990s.
STARTING LINEUP: Your guess is probably as good as anyone else’s. Last year, head coach Nolan Richardson used 22 different starting combinations in 34 games. Every player started at least once.
Arkansas’ Game-By-Game Starting Lineups
Tennessee St. (11-17): Johnson, Gipson, Lane, Dean, Pargo
Southern Miss. (11-18): Johnson, Gipson, Baker, Lane, Pargo
Jackson St. (11-22): Johnson, Gipson, Baker, Eddins, Cleveland
La.-Monroe (11-25): Johnson, Gipson, Baker, Eddins, Cleveland
Centenary (11-28): Johnson, Gipson, Baker, Eddins, Cleveland
Memphis (12-2): Johnson, Gipson, Lane, Eddins, Cleveland
North Texas (12-5): Johnson, Gipson, Lane, Eddins, Cleveland
Oklahoma St. (12-9): Johnson, Gipson, Lane, Dean, Cleveland
NW St. (12-20): Johnson, Pargo, Baker, Gomez, Cleveland
Oklahoma (12-23): Johnson, Pargo, Baker, Gomez, Cleveland
Grambling (12-31): Davis, Eddins, Lane, Gomez, Tatum
MD-Eastern Shore (1-2): Johnson, Gomez, Lane, Gipson, Tatum
Mississippi St. (1-6): Johnson, Gomez, Lane, Gipson, Pargo
Ole Miss (1-10): Johnson, Gomez, Lane, Dean, Pargo
Vanderbilt (1-13): Davis, Gomez, Lane, Cleveland, Pargo
Auburn (1-17): Johnson, Gipson, Satchell, Dean, Pargo
Alabama (1-20): Johnson, Gipson, Satchell, Dean, Pargo
LSU (1-27): Johnson, Gipson, Satchell, Dean, Pargo
Ole Miss (1-31): Johnson, Gipson, Satchell, Davis, Pargo
Mississippi St. (2-3): Johnson, Gomez, Satchell, Baker, Pargo
Tennessee (2-7): Johnson, Gomez, Satchell, Baker, Pargo
Florida (2-10): Johnson, Gomez, Satchell, Baker, Pargo
Auburn (2-14): Johnson, Davis, Satchell, Baker, Pargo
Records For Starting Combinations
Johnson, Gipson, Lane, Dean, Pargo: 1-0 (TSU)
Johnson, Gipson, Baker, Lane, Pargo: 0-1 (USM)
Johnson, Gipson, Baker, Eddins, Cleveland: 3-0 (JSU, ULM, CC)
Johnson, Gipson, Lane, Eddins, Cleveland: 2-0 (Memphis, UNT)
Johnson, Gipson, Lane, Dean, Cleveland: 0-1 (OSU)
Johnson, Pargo, Baker, Gomez, Cleveland: 1-1 (NSU, OU)
Davis, Eddins, Lane, Gomez, Tatum: 1-0 (GSU)
Johnson, Gomez, Lane, Gipson, Tatum: 1-0 (UMES)
Johnson, Gomez, Lane, Gipson, Pargo: 0-1 (MSU1)
Johnson, Gomez, Lane, Dean, Pargo: 0-1 (UM1)
Davis, Gomez, Lane, Cleveland, Pargo: 0-1 (VU)
Johnson, Gipson, Satchell, Dean, Pargo: 3-0 (AU1, ALA1, LSU1)
Johnson, Gipson, Satchell, Davis, Pargo: 0-1 (UM2)
Johnson, Gomez, Satchell, Baker, Pargo: 2-1 (MSU2, UT, UF)
Johnson, Davis, Satchell, Baker, Pargo: 0-1 (AU2)
HEAD COACH NOLAN RICHARDSON: Head coach Nolan Richardson is in his 16th season as head coach at Arkansas and he owns a 370-153 record (.707). He is the school’s all-time leader in victories and has led the Razorbacks to three Final Four appearances (1990, 1994, 1995) and the 1994 national championship. The 1963 graduate of Texas-El Paso has led UA into the NCAA Tournament 12 times, all in the last 13 years. The Hogs have made 14 straight postseason appearances under Richardson, including advancing to the Elite Eight in 1991, and the Sweet Sixteen in 1993 and 1996. His teams are 26-11 (.703) in NCAA Tournament play.
RICHARDSON OVERALL: In his 21st year of head coaching, Nolan Richardson is 489-190 (.720), including 16 years at UA and five at Tulsa. The only coach to ever lead teams to an NCAA championship (Arkansas, 1994), an NIT title (Tulsa, 1981) and a national junior college championship (Western Texas, 1980), entering the season, his winning percentage ranked ninth among all active Division I coaches.