FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The game caps the “Celebration of a Championship” weekend in which the 1994 national championship team is being honored for the first time since winning the NCAA title.
Members of the team and coaching staff will sign autographs around the concourse of Bud Walton Arena from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday. The championship game, which Arkansas won 76-72 over Duke, will play on the video board in the arena and monitors around the concourse from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Thursday to preview the game.
“Scheme-wise, I think they are the same as before (prior to the coaching change). They play physical defense. We’ve struggled against them.
“Terrance Woodbury is a really good player. Their freshman point guard, Dustin Ware, has done some good things. I like (Trey) Thompkins at power forward and Corey Butler is a tremendous defender.
“Our last game (against Georgia) was in the SEC finals. That was a tough loss for us. That day was (NCAA) Selection Sunday and it robbed us of some of that joy. For us, we understand how important this week is in terms of celebrating our history. We will have the national championship team here and Coach (Nolan) Richardson. It will be monumental, and we’ll give respect where it is certainly due.
“This game is not for the SEC title, but both teams will play hard.”
“We had to go to a zone early. Michael Sanchez had two fouls. We went small with Jason Henry. (Alonzo) Gee got off to a great start. Our effort was not great in the first half.”
Jason Henry (suffered a blow to the head at Alabama and was limited to 11 minutes):
“There is no update. I know he had a headache.”
“Any time you have a chance to play, it’s important. We have tremendous fan support in Bud Walton Arena. On top of that, we’re having the celebration this weekend. There is plenty to play for. We appreciate the University of Georgia allowing us to have extra time (at halftime for the 1994 team to be recognized on the court).
“There are games to be played. We need to show up and play. Winning two or three in a row would be fun. I would find enjoyment in that.”
Playing well after losses:
“We have to wait and see. I haven’t seen anything to indicate anything other than that, but we put ourselves in a position where we are all wondering how they will respond.”
“Everybody is banged up (nagging toe injury). I don’t think he wants to use that as an excuse. It’s hard to say his confidence is as high as it has been because he has not made a lot of shots. We all need to play better. If he was staying and working on his shooting for an extra 10 minutes, he needs to stay 20 minutes.”
Balancing the weekend with the game:
“We have three days to get prepared and be ready to go. Our guys will be exposed to the championship team and we hope they have some interaction.”
The Celebration of a Championship:
“There is eternal value to winning a national championship. It is really, really unique. Not that all national championship teams aren’t beloved, I’m sure they are, but I believe it’s different being a Razorback.”
Freshmen playing a lot of minutes:
“It’s a concern any time someone gets to where he is playing a large amount of minutes. Stefan Welsh and Michael Washington’s roles have changed. There is concern, but that is not an excuse. We have to suck it up and play basketball. As time goes on and we get nine to 12 guys, you can manage those things and if someone isn’t playing well, you can go to a plan ‘B.’”