FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –The Razorbacks are 14-14 overall and 2-13 in the SEC. Vanderbilt is 18-11 overall and 7-8 in league play.
Head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Following is a partial transcript of his press conference.
“I really like their team. I think they are going to be really, really good in the future. They are good now, but they have some really good young players. That seems to be the trend in our league with a lot of teams playing good young players.
“A.J. Ogilvy has had two really good games in their last two games, and the last one was against the best team in the league (LSU). He has good size and lower body strength. It’s difficult for him to not get post position. His skill level is tremendous. Jermaine Beal does a good job getting everybody involved.
“They are athletic and they have shot blockers.”
Court setup at Vanderbilt with benches on the baseline:
“Everybody talks about that a lot. It is different. Communication is difficult. When your team is underneath your basket, it’s a positive. As a player, I found it to be a very good shooting environment, but with no borders or press row, it’s easy to run out of bounds.
“Our biggest challenge playing in Memorial Gym is the guys in the white uniforms.”
Ole Miss game:
“Defensively, we did not get off to a good start in the second half. They came out aggressive and got into a rhythm. Offensively, they were outstanding.
“Going against their zone, it tends to cover up your frontcourt guys, although we got 25 points out of the two Mikes (Washington and Sanchez). That impacted the game.
“Instead of 14 threes, we needed 15 or 16.
“The ball didn’t go down for us. That’s kind of the way it’s been for us. We just didn’t get the breaks we needed.”
Close games all season:
“With a couple of plays here or there, outside of LSU in the standings, we could be right in the mix of everything.
“Once we do it (win a close game), maybe we can put it behind us. We did it in the non-conference season, against some good teams. We just haven’t been able to do it enough.
“As the clock is winding down, we can’t have the defensive lapses we had last night and give up layups. We can’t have silly fouls, and we have to block out and get rebounds.
“I think there is some good fortune for us somewhere. Maybe we will win some games we shouldn’t.”
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a young man who has had farther to go (off the court). To his credit, he has made progress, but that is not based on the normal scenario. For him, the learning curve is still tremendous. I would like for it to be sped up. Everything he has done so far has been a little bit of us but a lot of his talent.”
“I thought our fans were unbelievable (for the season). I thought the support was as impressive this year as last year. I’m very humbled by the passion of Razorback fans.”
Playing at home:
“We love playing here. We had some really good memories and some tough, hard fought games that didn’t go our way.”