THE GAME: Arkansas and Memphis are meeting for the 12th consecutive season. UA is coming off a 96-52 win over Elon on Saturday while Memphis is coming off an 88-58 win over Tennessee-Martin on Friday.
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 The game is being televised by ESPN2.
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 502-196 (.719). In 17 years at Arkansas, he is 383-159 (.707).
THE MEMPHIS SERIES: Arkansas leads the all-time series 10-9 and has won four of the last five. UA leads 5-0 in Fayetteville while Memphis leads 5-3 in Memphis and 4-2 at neutral sites. UM has won two of the last three played in Memphis.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Arkansas’ four losses, to Oklahoma State, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wake Forest, are all to teams currently ranked in the top 25, although only Illinois and OSU, at fifth and sixth, respectively, were ranked at the time of the game.
ELON RECAP: Arkansas scored 40 points off 27 turnovers, shot 49 percent for the game and three players topped their season scoring high as the Razorbacks beat Elon University on Saturday, 96-52. UA held Elon to 28 percent shooting, including 23 percent in the second half. Brandon Dean scored a game-high 20 points on nine of 12 shooting. Teddy Gipson’s 13 points are the most for the senior since getting 15 in the season-opener against Maine. Senior T.J. Cleveland matched his season high of nine points while junior Blake Eddins had season bests of five points and five rebounds, and freshman Berry Jordan had personal highs of nine points and nine boards.
REJECTED: Arkansas blocked a season-high 10 shots against Elon, which isn’t close to a school record (18), but eight different players had a rejection against the Phoenix. Freshman Berry Jordan had a season-high three, but Teddy Gipson, Dionisio Gomez, Brandon Dean, Larry Satchell, Carl Baker, Blake Eddins and Jamar Blackmon had one each. The one block for Blackmon is a personal best while Gipson and Eddins matched their career high.
LAST YEAR AGAINST MEMPHIS: Blake Eddins was one of four Razorbacks in double figures with a team-high 15 points as No. 24 Arkansas won in Fayetteville, 74-68, on Dec. 2 in front of 18,725. UA shot 53 percent in the second half while holding UM to 36 percent in the second period to get the win. Teddy Gipson and Joe Johnson had 12 points each and Alonzo Lane 11. Kelly Wise led the Tigers with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
PARGO SEC POW: Senior guard Jannero Pargo was named the player of the week in the Southeastern Conference on Dec. 23 following his performances against Tennessee-Chattanooga and No. 6 Oklahoma State. For the week, Pargo averaged 26.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals while shooting 61.3 percent from the field (19-31), including 57 percent from three-point range (12-21). He scored a career and SEC season high 32 points against UTC and had 21 against OSU.
DEAN DELIVERING: Except for a poor shooting effort against Tennessee-Chattanooga on Dec. 20 (3-9), senior guard Brandon Dean has been red hot for the last month. In UA’s five other December games, Dean made 40 of 64 shots (.625) and averaged 18.8 points a game. Even with the UTC game factored in, he was 43 of 73 from the floor (.589) and averaged 16.8 points a game.
SULLINGER’S SCORING STREAK: Freshman J.J. Sullinger recorded his sixth straight double figure scoring game in the win over Elon by getting 11 points. He’s averaging 12.1 points for the season and 14.0 over the last six contests. He’s shooting 48.5 percent for the year, but during the streak, he’s made made 29 of 56 shots (.518). Joe Johnson was in double figures scoring in the final 14 games of his freshman season of 1999-00.
ASSIST-TO-TURNOVER RATIO: Arkansas’ pressure defense has forced an average of 22.9 turnovers a game, but unfortunately for the Razorbacks, the Hogs have turned the ball over an average of 15.7 times a game. Only five players have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio: T.J. Cleveland and Charles Tatum at 1.2, Brandon Dean at 1.3, Jannero Pargo at 1.9 and true freshman J.J. Sullinger at 2.7. Sullinger has 27 assists and just 10 turnovers.
SEC PLAY: The Memphis game is the last regular-season non-conference game of the year for the Razorbacks. Arkansas opens Southeastern Conference play on Saturday at Auburn.
…Blake Eddins scored five points against Elon. The five points are the first he’s scored since making a three-pointer against Maine in the season opener.
…T.J. Cleveland matched his season scoring high with nine points against the Phoenix.
…Alonzo Lane missed the Elon game with a left ankle injury suffered against Oklahoma State on Dec. 22.
…Redshirt freshman Michael Jones has made 50 percent of his shots or better in seven straight games, going 17 of 29 from the floor for 59 percent and averaging 6.7 points over that stretch.
…Arkansas is 0-2 against ranked teams this year, losing 94-91 to No. 5 Illinois in Chicago and 85-76 to No. 6 Oklahoma State in North Little Rock. Last year, UA was 4-5 against ranked opponents.
…The lineup of J.J. Sullinger, Dionisio Gomez, Larry Satchell, Jannero Pargo and Brandon Dean started five straight games for the Razorbacks before the lineup of Gomez, Pargo, Dean, Berry Jordan and Teddy Gipson took the floor against Elon.
…T.J. Cleveland has made 103 of his last 133 free throws (.774).
…Arkansas is 29-8 when Brandon Dean scores in double figures.
…Alonzo Lane has made 50 percent of his shots, or better, in 44 of 75 games.
…Of Charles Tatum’s 91 career field goals, 56 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 eight three-pointers against OSU, the Razorbacks have now made at least one three-pointer in 441 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. In 31 games in 2001, 19 different lineups took the floor.
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
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,
Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Lane, Gomez: 0-1 (OU)
Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Jordan, Gomez: 1-0 (Elon)