FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays its Southeastern Conference home opener on Wednesday when the Razorbacks face LSU at 7:05 p.m. in a non-televised game. Arkansas is 11-3 overall and 0-1 in the SEC. LSU is 8-5 and will be playing its conference opener. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“It’s really important for us to protect our home court. LSU is probably in the top two in the league in terms of talent. They have been phenomenal rebounding the ball. They have possibly the premiere player in the conference in Glen Davis, and Darrel Mitchell his having his best year. They play good basketball. They’ve lost five games by 11 points and had big leads in most of those. Their success doesn’t show how well they’ve played.
“Glen Davis has really improved his game. He’s slimmed down, but he’s still huge. He’s around 310 and is probably 30 or 40 pounds lighter. He’s doing a lot of things – taking the ball off the dribble, shooting fade-aways and posting up. We have to do a good job with him. Tyrus Thomas is a redshirt freshman and he’s taking the league by storm.
“LSU plays about 90 percent man and 10 percent zone. Against us, they more go with more zone.
“We need to get some momentum going in our direction. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a loss (MSU loss snapped a nine-game winning streak). The team is very serious, very anxious and ready to get back on the floor.
“Sunday is normally an off-day, but we watched the whole game and shot 100 free throws. I didn’t want to tire them out or beat them up physically, but we did get on the free throw line and got our heads right because that can be a mental thing.”
“He will respond. He knows he’s valuable to us and he’s a good player. He has to understand he has a target on his back and how to play defense without fouling because teams want him to foul.
“He is a rhythm guy. He likes things the same way. We disrupted his rhythm (by starting him at MSU).”
“I was really pleased with his play. He was aggressive offensively. I didn’t think his defensive presence was felt as much as in the past, but that game should be a confidence boost for him.”
“Steven Hill will definitely be in the lineup. Whether we go with Charles Thomas or Darian Townes is to be decided.”
Playing on the road:
“This team should be judged for this season. The last few years, we were very young and not one of the most talented teams in the league. I don’t think anybody will go undefeated on the road in our league and I think we will get some wins on the road.”
“I have not accepted that we will not be a good rebounding team, but I have accepted that our defensive pressure will result in fewer rebounds. We had more possessions (at MSU), more shots and more free throws. We’re getting a lot more possessions, we just didn’t convert.
“If we have a game and I see the other team get 15 offensive rebounds, I’ll be upset. If we get only two offensive rebounds, I’ll be upset because that means we’re not working hard.”
“He practiced today. He was a little gimpy, but he made it through the whole practice. I think he will be available on Wednesday.”