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 505-197 (.719). In 17 years at Arkansas, he is 386-160 (.707).
THE USC SERIES: Arkansas leads the South Carolina series 9-2 and has won three of the last four meetings. UA leads 4-1 in Fayetteville and in Columbia, and 1-0 at neutral sites. USC’s last win came in the last meeting in Fayetteville, 76-65, two years ago.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Four of Arkansas’ five losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 25 – Oklahoma State, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wake Forest, although only Illinois and OSU, at fifth and sixth, respectively, were ranked at the time of the game.
LSU RECAP: Arkansas’ Brandon Dean and Teddy Gipson were a combined 15 of 23 from the field, but the rest of the Razorbacks were just nine of 35 and LSU made 31 of 38 free throws as the Tigers rallied from a 53-40 deficit to get a 75-69 victory Sunday. UA scored just three points over a nine-minute stretch in the second half and forced just 12 turnovers, including only three in the second period, as the Hogs had their four-game winning streak snapped. Dean finished with game highs of 24 points and five assists while Gipson had a season-high 17 points and a season-high matching six rebounds. Arkansas made 13 three-pointers, but the Razorbacks, who were eight of 10 at the line, were outscored 31-8 at the line. Ronald Dupree and Collis Temple led LSU with 21 points each.
TEDDY TREY: Senior Teddy Gipson is coming off his best game of the year, but he’s been shooting well for the last four games. In Sunday’s loss at LSU, he made seven of 10 shots, including three of three three-pointers, scored a season-high 17 points and had a season-high matching six rebounds along with two steals.
THE DEAL WITH DEAN: Brandon Dean, the MVP of the 2000 SEC Tournament, had a great December and is off to a great start in January. In six December games, he was 43 of 73 from the field (.589) and averaged 16.8 points a game.
DEAN, GIPSON CLOSING IN ON 1,000 CAREER POINTS: Seniors Brandon Dean and Teddy Gipson each have a chance to end their careers with 1,000 points scored.
2-1 SEC STARTS: Arkansas is 2-1 in Southeastern Conference play for the sixth time in its 11 years in the league. Last year, the Razorbacks began league play 0-3. Here’s a look at UA’s record following the first three SEC games of each year and where the Hogs finished:
Year Start Finish Place Year Start Finish Place
1992 2-1 13-2 1st 1997 1-2 8-8 2nd
1993 3-0 10-6 3rd 1998 3-0 11-5 2nd
1994 2-1 14-2 1st 1999 1-2 9-7 2nd
1995 2-1 12-4 1st 2000 2-1 7-9 3rd
1996 2-1 9-7 2nd 2001 0-3 10-6 2nd
PARGO’S PERCENTAGE: Senior Jannero Pargo, a third-team All-SEC selection last year, leads the club in scoring with 16.4 points per game. He ranks among league leaders in scoring (8th), three-point percentage (6th, .424) and three-point goals per game (3rd, 3.33), but he’s coming off his worst shooting game of the year. At LSU, he made just two of 10 shots.
TWO 30-POINT OUTINGS: Jannero Pargo has two 30-point games and five 20-point games this year. He had a career-high 32 points against Tennessee-Chattanooga and 30 at Memphis. His two 30-point outings are the most for a Razorback in a single season since Pat Bradley had 32 points against Western Carolina and North Texas in 1999. The last time a Hog had three 30-point games in a season was 1992 when Todd Day had 43 against LSU, 39 against Alabama and 35 against Auburn. Day’s performance against LSU is also the last 40-point game for Arkansas.
REBOUNDING OVERRATED?: Arkansas had a 34-27 rebounding advantage at LSU, marking just the third time this year the Razorbacks were not out-boarded. UA outrebounded Oral Roberts, 37-34, and matched Memphis, 37-37. The Hogs are 2-1 in those games, but when being out-rebounded, the Razorbacks are still 8-4 this year, and when getting 30 or more boards, regardless of the margin against the opponent, UA is 10-2.
SULLINGER STRUGGLING: After reeling off eight straight double-figure scoring games, freshman J.J. Sullinger has struggled in the last two games. He’s still third on the club in scoring with 11.7 points a game, but in the last two contests, he is just three of 11 from the field (.273) and is averaging 3.5 points a game.
QB JONES JOINS TEAM: Arkansas freshman quarterback Matt Jones of Fort Smith, Ark., officially joined the team on Monday, Jan. 7. He played one minute the following night against Mississippi State and had two points on a dunk with nine seconds to play. An all-state basketball player and nominee for McDonald’s All-America honors, he led Northside in scoring (18.9), rebounding (7.6) and assists as a senior and did the same as a junior at Van Buren (Ark.) HS when he broke former UA All-American Corliss Williamson’s conference scoring average record by averaging 24.5 points a game. As a senior at Northside, he shot 63 percent from the field. As a true freshman quarterback, he helped lead the Razorbacks to the Cotton Bowl by rushing for 592 yards and five touchdowns on 74 carries (8.0). He also threw for 275 yards and four scores.
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, 34 percent of UA’s points (404 of 1,197) and 36 percent of the team’s rebounds (181 of 500) are coming off the bench. The highest bench totals came at Auburn when UA’s reserves scored 48 points and against Tennessee-Chattanooga when the bench claimed 19 rebounds.
UA AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Following the 75-64 win over No. 22 Mississippi State, Arkansas is now 1-2 this season against ranked teams. Arkansas earlier lost to then-No. 5 Illinois and then-No. 6 Oklahoma State.
POWER RANKINGS: 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 while Arkansas’ slate is rated the 14th-most difficult. Georgia’s schedule is next at No. 33 followed by Tennessee at No. 34.
HALF COURT VS. FULL COURT: Arkansas opened the year playing a half-court set but following the 69-54 loss to Oklahoma on Nov. 30, the Razorbacks went back to their traditional full-court pressure game. In the 10 games since, Arkansas has forced 20 or more turnovers nine times, been in double figures in steals eight times, scored 90 or more points five times and won seven of 10 games following a 3-2 start.
…T.J. Cleveland’s three-pointer at LSU was his first in nine games, since the Dec. 4 Southwest Texas game when he was three of four on treys and scored nine points.
…Dionisio Gomez had a team-high seven rebounds against LSU, marking the 11th time this season he’s led the team and the 16th time in his career. Gomez was also two of three shooting, marking the 11th time in 15 games this year he’s made 50 percent of his shots or better.
…When true freshman J.J. Sullinger reaches double figures in scoring, the Hogs are 8-2.
…When Teddy Gipson hits a three-pointer, Arkansas is 7-2 this year.
…When T.J. Cleveland makes three or more steals in a game, UA is 5-0 this season.
…Arkansas is 32-9 when Brandon Dean scores in double figures.
…Alonzo Lane has made 50 percent of his shots, or better, in 48 of 79 games.
…Of Charles Tatum’s 95 career field goals, 59 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 13 three-pointers against LSU, the Razorbacks have now made at least one three-pointer in 445 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 509 games since the three-pointer was added to college basketball and failed to make a three in only six games. UA won each of 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
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)
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.