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Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Mississipp

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Nolan Richardson Press Conference – Mississipp
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas plays host to No. 24 Mississippi State (14-1, 1-0) Tuesday at 8 p.m. in its Southeastern Conference home opener which is being televised by ESPN. MSU is coming off a 74-69 overtime victory over Kentucky in Starkville, Miss., on Saturday while Arkansas (9-4, 1-0) won at Auburn, 83-77.

“I expect Mississippi State to have a lot of confidence and to be ready to play. They are a good team. They’ve won 14 games. They have almost 20 wins already. Winning games is important. It builds character. They beat a top team and they’re coming in here ranked. They have more than 100 stick backs. That’s a lot. They offensive rebound very well and that’s how they beat Kentucky. That’s a big concern and it will be all year. We did a pretty good job of that at Memphis but didn’t do as well at Auburn.”

The play of MSU’s Mario Austin:

“He’s a super player. He has all the tools. He looks like Corliss Williamson to me – a man playing with boys. They try really hard to get the ball to him, especially when they are behind. We have our work cut out for us. There should be two guys on him every time he catches the ball. We may not get them there, but they should be there.”

UA’s play at home and on the road:

“We haven’t played at home in a while and I hope our confidence has grown. Sometimes you get too fired up. I think (the MSU game) will be an emotional game to begin with and as emotions wear off, hopefully we’ll settle down. We’re in conference now and every game is important. Hopefully we can get into a rhythm and play well.

“We lost to Oklahoma and Wake Forest in our building, but when we played them, we were a different team. We’re no longer playing possession basketball. The last game we played at home (Elon), we played well. All you want to see is a ‘W.’ We don’t need to get caught up in whether or not we’re playing well at home. All we’re working for is a win.”

Arkansas’ bench production:

“I always expect something from the guys coming off our bench. (Carl) Baker had 17 points (at Auburn) but we don’t have to get that from him every night. He could give us 12 rebounds or six assists. We have other guys that played well off the bench – (Charles) Tatum and T.J. (Cleveland) played well. We still have some weapons who haven’t shown us anything yet – (Alonzo) Lane and (Blake) Eddins.

“In our style of play, I must show confidence in them to put them on the floor. I don’t know another program that plays 13 guys. The other day (at Auburn), (Brandon) Dean and (Jannero) Pargo got 10 points each, but other guys stepped up. Who will step up the next time – Tatum, Blake or somebody else?”

Freshman Berry Jordan in the starting lineup:

“We have to have a chance for a stick back and in practice he gets one every day. We don’t have an athlete his size who jumps like he does. If you show me you can do some things, I will play you.”

Keys for Arkansas:

“For us to be successful, our bench must come through. We have to keep opponents from getting stick backs, that’s my biggest worry. After that, I’m worried about putting the other team on the line and turning the ball over. Everybody is sending four or five guys to the boards. That can play to our favor if our guards help rebound because we can still run.”



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