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Bill’s Blog: Welcome to Tempe

Bill’s Blog: Welcome to Tempe

BREAKING UPDATE: Streaming video WILL BE available through Fox Sports Arizona. There is still no conventional TV.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Welcome to the Valley of the Sun, also known as the campus of Arizona State University.

No matter what anyone tells you, it’s hot. Not "just a dry heat." Not as bad as humidity in the South. Plain and simple, it’s hot.

Tomorrow when the Arkansas Razorbacks open the 2011 Tempe Regional against UNC-Charlotte at 2 p.m. Pacific, it will be close to 100 degrees at Packard Stadium.

This is a crucial advantage for the Razorbacks.

Wait — you just said it was really hot.

True, but the Razorbacks are making their third trip to Arizona State in the past five years. Of all the regionals except for a SEC site, Arkansas has the most experience playing here. Starting with last year’s Super Regional that Arkansas came with a hit or two of winning and back to a regular season series as well, Arkansas knows the weather, the wind, the way the field plays.

Add to that Coach Dave Van Horn’s tactical move to not only travel out from Fayetteville a little early, but to seek out a practice in nearby Mesa, Ariz., at the Chicago Cubs training facility. This allowed the Razorbacks to get the jet lag from an early morning flight and a time zone change out of the system early and make today’s practice fully focused on the task at hand.

That’s a positive since Arkansas may know the field, but they have never faced the opponent in the 49ers.

Coach Van Horn announced he will go with Randal Fant for tomorrow’s 4 p.m. central time game, holding back DJ Baxendale for later round advancement games.

PRE-TOURNAMENT NOTES: Attached to today’s pre-event blog is a short gallery of photos from Thursday’s practice at Packard Stadium and one or two from yesterday at the Cubs field. We also have video yesterday of practice in Mesa along with a package of today’s practice.

WE EXPECT FANS: A couple were present at Thursday’s practice, and more have let us know through Facebook that they are going to be there at 2 p.m. tomorrow in Tempe. Among those checking in, former Razorback point guard and all-time leader in assists, Amy Wright, who is working next door at ASU’s women’s basketball camp.

VIDEO – YES: Starting Wednesday, RazorVision has features each day with full uncut video of Dave Van Horn and players, along with packages of highlights. On Friday morning, the Voice of the Razorbacks, Chuck Barrett, joins me for a preview of the weekend.

STREAMING VIDEO: UPDATED TO YES! Thursday evening, the clearances were made for Fox Sports Arizona to provide streaming video of the games this weekend. There is no TV or ESPN3 — go to the main website for Fox Sports Arizona.

BLOG – YES: For fans keeping up, that means the live blogs and RazorVision streaming of the Razorback Sports Network broadcasts are the main ways you can keep up, along with inning and scoring updates on Twitter.

Sports Category : Baseball