RADIO/TV INFORMATION: The game is being broadcast on radio over the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network, which includes more than 60 affiliates. Mike Nail is on play-by-play while former Razorback and NBA player Joe Kleine is the analyst. The game is being televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports with Tom Hammond handling the play-by-play and Larry Conley the color.
MIKE ANDERSON UA’S INTERIM HEAD COACH: Mike Anderson is Arkansas’ interim head coach, taking over for Nolan Richardson (more on Anderson is inside). Richardson was released from his contract on Friday, March 1. In 17 years at Arkansas, he had a record of 389-169 (.697). In 22 years overall, he has a mark of 508-206 (.711). Richardson guided the Razorbacks to the 1994 national championship, the 1995 championship game and into the Final Four three times. He coached the Hogs to the Sweet 16 six times and into the Elite Eight four times, and earned NCAA Tournament bids 14 times and an NIT bid once with 15 consecutive national tournament appearances. Anderson had been with Richardson throughout his 22-year coaching career, including playing for Richardson at Tulsa. Anderson became a full-time assistant under Richardson in 1988-89.
THE TENNESSEE SERIES: Arkansas leads the all-time series 9-7, but Tennessee won this year’s regular-season meeting, 64-53, in Knoxville on Feb. 13. UA has a 4-1 lead in Fayetteville and at neutral sites while UT leads 5-1 in Knoxville. The only time the two teams have faced each other in the SEC tournament came in 1997-98 with Arkansas winning a second-round matchup, 102-96.
VANDERBILT RECAP: With Mike Anderson taking over as interim head coach the day before, Arkansas’ .475 shooting percentage was its best in nine games and five players scored in double figures as the Razorbacks beat Vanderbilt, 81-67. On Senior Day, Teddy Gipson had a season-high 19 points, Brandon Dean scored 16, and Jannero Pargo and T.J. Cleveland 10 each. Junior Carl Baker added 10 as well. UA shot 53.8 percent in the second half and used a 13-0 scoring run to put the game away. Arkansas forced 20 turnovers, had 11 steals, made 10 three-pointers and had 19 assists. Sam Howard led Vanderbilt with 20 points while Matt Freije had 18 points and eight rebounds.
HOG SCHEDULE SECOND-TOUGHEST IN NATION: UA has played the second-toughest schedule in the country, according to CollegeRPI.com. UA is also No. 38 in the College.RPI.com poll.
DOUBLE-FIGURE SCORERS: Arkansas had a season-high five players score in double figures in the win over Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks had four players reach double digits in four other games (Tennessee-Chattanooga, Oklahoma State, at Memphis and at Auburn). In the three previous games (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State), the Hogs had a total of four double-figure scorers.
SENIORS STEP UP: In the win over Vanderbilt, all four of Arkansas’ departing seniors (Dionisio Gomez, a partial qualifier when he entered school, is scheduled to graduate and is expected to return for a second senior season) scored in double figures. Teddy Gipson had a season-high 19 points and 30 minutes, and career-high matching 14 shots and eight shots made, and T.J. Cleveland matched his season high of 10 points. The Vanderbilt game marked just the fourth this year in which Gipson, Jannero Pargo and Brandon Dean reached double figures in the same contest (Southwest Texas, at Memphis, at Mississippi State).
BETTER BAKER: Junior Carl Baker had another solid game against Vanderbilt with 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots. Over the last five games, he’s averaging 7.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots and has been to the free throw line a team-high tying 14 times and made 11 (.786), the second-most on the team.
MATT’S STATS: Over the last four games, Matt Jones is shooting 57.9 percent (11-19) and averaging 5.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 assists.
SEC LEADERS: Entering the tournament, Jannero Pargo leads the SEC with 3.36 three-point goals per game while ranking second in three-point percentage, fourth in scoring and ninth in overall shooting percentage. As a team, the Hogs lead the league in steals (10.57) and in turnover margin (+5.46).
FREAK STAT OF THE YEAR: For the season, junior forward Larry Satchell has 16 assists and 17 turnovers, but in SEC play, he has seven assists and three turnovers, and actually leads the league (in league play only) with a 2.33 assist-to-turnover ratio.
PARGO’S 30-POINT GAMES: Senior Jannero Pargo, Sports Illustrated’s national Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 27 and a two-time SEC Player of the Week selection this season, recorded his fifth 30-point game of the season with his career-high matching 35-point performance at Mississippi State. He is the first Razorback to have five 30-point games in the same season since Todd Day in 1991 with 33 against Alabama-Birmingham, 31 against Jackson State and Alabama, and 30 against Florida State and Houston. Pargo had 35 against MSU and then-No. 4 Florida, 33 at then-No. 7 Alabama, 32 against Tennessee-Chattanooga and 30 at Memphis. His efforts against Florida and Alabama came in back-to-back games, making him the first Hog to score 30 points in consecutive contests since Joe Kleine had 32 against Texas and Texas Tech in 1985. The last player to record more than five 30-point games in a season is Kleine with seven in 1985 (41 vs. Iowa State, 37 vs. TCU, 36 and 32 against Texas Tech, 32 vs. Texas and 31 vs. Ohio State). Day is the last player to record a 40-point game with 43 against LSU in 1992. Pargo’s 35-point games are the most for a Razorback since Al Dillard had 39 against Delaware State in 1994.
LAST TIME IN ATLANTA: The last time the SEC Tournament was in Atlanta (2000), UA won four games in four days to win the title with Brandon Dean earning MVP honors.
J.J.’s JOURNEY: True freshman J.J. Sullinger has been in double figures scoring 15 times and currently ranks tied for ninth among UA’s top-scoring freshmen over the last 17 years.
Arkansas’ Top-Scoring Freshmen (over last 17 years)
Name Year FG-FGA FG% PPG
Scotty Thurman 1993 204-439 .465 17.4
Joe Johnson 2000 140-302 .464 16.0
Corliss Williamson 1993 101-176 .574 14.6
Todd Day 1989 148-328 .451 13.3
Lee Mayberry 1989 157-314 .500 12.9
Kareem Reid 1996 141-357 .395 12.9
Ron Huery 1987 129-291 .443 11.7
Pat Bradley 1996 107-256 .418 10.2
J.J. Sullinger 2002 93-219 .425 9.6
Glendon Alexander 1997 104-268 .388 9.6
T.J.’s TOTALS: T.J. Cleveland has moved into the school’s all-time top 10 for both steals and assists, overall and in SEC games only.
Career Steals SEC Career Steals
1. Lee Mayberry, ’89-92 291 1. Kareem Reid, ’96-99 121
4. Darrell Walker, ’81-83 230 2. T.J. Cleveland, ’89-92 91
5. Clint McDaniel, ’93-95 226 3. Clint McDaniel, ’93-95 87
6. T.J. Cleveland, ’89-92 224
7. Alvin Robertson, ’82-84 217
Career Assists SEC Career Assists
1. Kareem Reid, ’96-99 748 1. Kareem Reid, ’96-99 326
8. Darrell Walker, ’81-83 302 2. Corey Beck, ’93-95 231
9. Oliver Miller ’89-92, 296 3. T.J. Cleveland, ’89-92 112
10. T.J. Cleveland, ’89-92 279 4. Scotty Thurman, ’93-95 107
CLOSE CALLS: Arkansas has lost six games this year by six points or less while winning four games by six points or less.
PARGO TIED FOR ALL-TIME THREE-POINT PERCENTAGE LEAD: With his two of two shooting from behind the arc against Vanderbilt, Jannero Pargo has now tied Scotty Thurman for the school’s best three-point percentage at .432.
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 T1. Scotty Thurman, 1993-95 .432
2. Scotty Thurman, 1993-95 267 2. Scotty Thurman, 1993-95 618 T1. Jannero Pargo, 2001-02 .432
3. Todd Day, 1989-92 226 3. Todd Day, 1989-92 588 3. Lee Mayberry, 1989-92 .424
4. Lee Mayberry, 1989-92 218 4. Lee Mayberry, 1989-92 514 4. Al Dillard, 1994-95 .401
5. Jannero Pargo, 2001-02 167 5. Brandon Dean, 1989-02 426 5. Pat Bradley, 1996-99 .400
6. Brandon Dean, 1999-02 147 6. Kareem Reid, 1996-92 406 6. Todd Day, 1989-92 .384
7. Al Dillard, 1994-95 138 7. Jannero Pargo, 2001-02 387
8. Tarik Wallace, 1997-98 375
SHOOTING WOES: UA has shot below 40 percent nine times this season, losing seven of those games. For the year, Arkansas is shooting 43.7 percent from the floor.
SCORING DROUGHT: Arkansas has scored less than 70 points 12 times this year, winning three times. The last time UA played more than 10 games scoring fewer than 70 points was 1986 when the Hogs went 4-9 in 13 contests. The year before, 1985, Arkansas was 14-11 in 25 games scoring less than 70 points.
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: UA is 3-5 against ranked teams, including a 2-1 mark against teams ranked in the top five. In order of the ranking at the time of the game, Arkansas beat then-No. 4 Florida, 94-92 in overtime, lost to then-No. 5 Illinois in Chicago, 94-91, beat then-No. 5 Alabama, 67-59, lost to then-No. 6 Oklahoma State, 85-76 in Little Rock, lost at then-No. 7 Alabama, 109-94, lost at then-No. 12 Kentucky, 71-58, lost at then-No. 15 Georgia, 81-67, and beat then-No. 22 Mississippi State, 75-64.
BENCH PRODUCTION: Arkansas’ style of play, 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, 39.5 percent of UA’s points (834 of 2,110) and 39 percent of the team’s rebounds (342 of 869) are coming off the bench. The highest bench totals came at No. 7 Alabama (Jan. 30) when UA’s reserves scored 85 of the team’s 94 points and had 23 of the team’s 39 rebounds.
DEAN JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB, GIPSON CLOSES IN: Senior Brandon Dean became the 26th Razorback to score 1,000 career points with his 18-point performance against South Carolina on Jan. 16. He already ranks 21st on the list with 1,114 points. Dean entered the year with 775 points.
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 10 three-pointers against Vanderbilt, the Razorbacks have now made at least one three-pointer in 458 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 522 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, Arkansas 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. In 2002, 16 different lineups have been used.
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
Alabama (1-30): Cleveland, Dean, Tatum, Baker, Gomez
Auburn (2-2): Eddins, Sullinger, Pargo, Satchell, Gomez
Ole Miss (2-9): Gipson, Dean, Pargo, Matt Jones, Lane
Tennessee (2-13): Gipson, Dean, Sullinger, Matt Jones, Satchell
LSU (2-16): Dean, Pargo, Sullinger, Satchell, Gomez
Alabama (2-20): Tatum, Cleveland, Baker, Lane, Satchell
Kentucky (2-23): Tatum, Cleveland, Baker, Lane, Satchell
MSU (2-27): Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Baker, Lane
Vanderbilt (3-2): Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Cleveland, 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: 4-3 (TU, SWT, IL, UNCG, UTC, OSU, LSU2)
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: 1-1 (Florida, Alabama)
Eddins, Sullinger, Pargo, Satchell, Gomez: 1-0 (Auburn2)
Gipson, Dean, Pargo, Jones, Lane: 0-1 (Ole Miss2)
Gipson, Dean, Sullinger, Matt Jones, Satchell: 0-1 (Tennessee)
Tatum, Cleveland, Baker, Lane, Satchell: 1-1 (Alabama2, Kentucky)
Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Baker, Lane: 0-1 (MSU2)
Dean, Pargo, Gipson, Celeland, Gomez: 1-0 (Vanderbilt)