FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas is on the road again this week as the Razorbacks travel to Tuscaloosa for a 7:05 p.m. game at Alabama on Wednesday. The game is being televised by Raycom Sports. The Razorbacks are 18-8 overall and 7-5 in the SEC. Alabama is 14-13 and 3-9. Following is a partial transcript of head coach John Pelphrey’s press conference previewing the game.
“It will be a difficult challenge down there. We had a hard fought battle here. I like their personnel. Mark Gottfried has done a good job.
“Richard Hendrix is the best frontcourt player in the league. He has size, strength, he performs and he has a high IQ. He’s got it all.
“Mykal Riley is a deadly, deadly three-point shooter. He has good size, he’s competitive and he’s a very, very confident player.
“Alabama can hurt you both inside and out.”
“For us to sustain on a high level is totally mental. We have to make a conscious decision to not understand a collection of small things done the wrong way can put us in a situation that is hard to overcome.”
“We have struggled at times scoring the ball, whether it’s an individual performance or not. For whatever reason, we are not getting the consistency we need. Give credit to the defense, but we need to operate at a higher level.”
“I want them to play up to their potential and beyond. I have total belief that they will. If they don’t, they won’t play.”
“We have to be mentally tougher. A common denominator for us is we foul in the last four minutes. It was the same at Kentucky and Mississippi State. They were not made to perform. A foul on defense is just like a turnover.
“We have to get better, get tougher. Some guys may play too many minutes, but there has to be a desire and a thirst for victory. We could play smarter. We don’t have any excuses for fouling.”
Following the RPI ratings:
“I look at it a little, but not a whole lot. You have to have a vision and a destination you want to get to, but if you get caught up in that, you can get overwhelmed and paralyzed. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We have to keep playing.
“You have to keep up with the strength of schedule and RPI some because there are some good teams that don’t go to the NCAA Tournament.”
“They all need to play as hard as they can and do whatever they can to help the team. They know what they need to do. They just need to do it. It’s fundamental.
“I want them to over-achieve. It’s not the end of the world right now. The West Division is up in the air and seeding for the (SEC) tournament is up in the air. We just need to do the right things.
“The Kentucky game is one loss and Alabama is one game. We need to come back and be ready to fight, scratch and claw, and be ready to battle.
“There is a lot of basketball to play. Our guys understand that and I expect them to come out and compete better than they have all year.”