FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to No. 25 Mississippi State at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday in a game televised by Raycom Sports. The Razorbacks are 14-5 overall and 3-2 in the SEC following Saturday’s win at LSU. MSU is 14-5 and 5-0. Following is a partial transcript from head coach John Pelphrey’s press conference previewing the game.
Charles Thomas suspended:
“Charles Thomas is suspended for a violation of team rules. I’m not going to comment on it any more than that. I have never been so disappointed, and for a million reasons.
“My dad always told me ‘your day is coming, Sonny, your day is coming.’ For some of those guys, that day is Wednesday. We have no excuses. Somebody is going to step up.
“I refuse to talk about (Thomas) today. He’s definitely out one game, but it has the potential to be longer.
“Either Michael Washington or Vincent Hunter will start. We’ll see.”
“They’ve ripped off nine in a row and they are the only undefeated team in the SEC.
“Jarvis Varnado is unique. He’s as good as anybody in the country (at blocking shots). He has a God-given gift. He doesn’t need to flex his knees to leave the floor. He can erase a lot of mistakes defensively and make it look easy. Blocking shots is timing, size and athleticism. He is a force. He’s a really, really good player.
“Jamont Gordon is huge. He’s not a conventional point guard. You can’t take it from him, he’s a terrific passer, he’s shooting 42 percent on threes and he doesn’t look like any other guard in the league.
“Mississippi State has a really good competitive nature. Varnado is chasing shots and Charles Rhodes is a competitive guy. I like their makeup.
“I don’t know if this is THE game for us, but it’s the next one and it’s in our building.
“This may be the best team we’ve faced this year.”
Gary Ervin playing against his former school:
“Hopefully the team will stay focused, together and play the correct way.”
Darian Townes and Michael Washington:
“Darian has just been okay of late. He needs to play better. That needs to happen. Michael Washington needs to play better as well. He sometimes tends to be too much of a team player, if that is possible. He has a lot of respect for the seniors. He understands that down the road more will be expected of him, but I’ve told him we aren’t guaranteed anything so he needs to do his deal now.”
“We’ve pressed less in terms of trying to get steals, but we’ve played smaller teams. Auburn and South Carolina are both fast. When that happens, you don’t want to create broken floor situations. That’s when guards are more effective.
“It will be big for us in the future, but it’s not in our best interest now.”
Three-game SEC home stand:
“We love playing at home, but we also know that guarantees us nothing. It’s special to be a Razorback and to play in this building.
“I remember being here (while at Florida) when it was too deafening to hear the referee blow his whistle.”