FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After an open date on Wednesday, Arkansas returns to action on Saturday when the Razorbacks play host to No. 24 Kentucky in a 12:05 p.m. game being televised by Lincoln Financial Sports. Arkansas is 14-7 overall and 3-4 in the SEC following Saturday’s win at Alabama. The Wildcats are 16-5 and 5-2. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“This has been a good week for us to improve ourselves and get ready for Kentucky. We’ve been inconsistent at times, and with fairness to our guys, we’re the only team in the league with no returning starter on the perimeter, and I think that’s a recipe for inconsistency. Hopefully we’re to the point in the season where freshmen are now sophomores and transfers are now seniors.
“We’re doing so many things well. We shoot the ball well. We’re one of the top four teams in the league in shooting, free throws, field goal defense, and our rebounding has improved. It would be a shame if we can’t clean up our turnovers.
“I’ve seen us crisper and cleaner, and I’m starting to see us finish more plays. If we do that, we could go places.”
“Every game from here on out is a big game and this will be a difficult game.
“I expect to see a defensive struggle. Both teams, on defense, have great numbers. I think it will be physical, drives will be clogged and it will be hard to get good looks at the rim.
“Randolph Morris looks like he’s in better condition and his body is stronger. He’s more consistent and is definitely a featured player for them.
“Bobby Perry is almost like a perimeter player matchup-wise. Vincent Hunter may be a better matchup, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to use our bigs.
“Joe Crawford has been lethal. We have to find him in transition and anytime he crosses midcourt. We’ll have to do a good job of giving Sonny help.”
“He has, so far, had a very strong freshman year. What has impressed me the most is his mental stability. He’s mentally strong at home and on the road. Ronnie Brewer had a good freshman year, but he struggled at times on the road. Pat has been as consistent or more consistent than any freshman I’ve coached.”
Stefan Welsh and Sean McCurdy getting more minutes:
“Someone will have to. Someone has to rest our guards. Gary, Patrick and Sonny have not had much of a (rest) spell. If there truly is a wall that you hit, we’ll hit it because we’ve played them so much.”
“He is questionable right now. That’s not a good sign. We are preparing other guys to play. If he can’t play, we lose his experience. He’s a guy who has started as a freshman, sophomore and junior, and he gives us a scoring and rebounding presence.”
“He’s getting points off offensive rebounds or behind the defense off lobs. Some teams are trapping to take away the lob. As long as he’s aggressive, he can still be a factor offensively and give us close to double-digits on a game-by-game basis.”
SEC Western Division:
“I am a little surprised no one has separated themselves. It’s going to be a dogfight. No one is out of it and it will come down to a couple of close games for everyone.”