BASKETBALL: Five Keys To An Arkansas Victory

1. STOP THE BIG MAN Arkansas has the depth. Alabama has the star power. The big man matchup tonight in Coleman Coliseum figures to entertain. Crimson Tide junior Richard Hendrix is a strong, scary, 6-foot-9, 255-pound monster. He leads the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (10.1 per game), ranks third in scoring (18.5) and shoots a second-best 61.7 percent from the field.

The Razorbacks will counter five-strong, with 7-0 senior Steven Hill, 6-10 sophomore Michael Washington, 6-8 senior Charles Thomas and 6-10 seniors Darian Townes and Vincent Hunter. That's 25 fouls the Hogs have to work with in trying to contain Hendrix.

2. A FULL 40 MINUTES

This is the four-word phrase that has made its way out of many Arkansas basketball players' mouths this season. This is what the Razorbacks must produce, coach John Pelphrey says, if they want to win.

Lately, four of the last five games probably, the Hogs haven't come close to giving a quality effort for an entire 40 minutes — the LSU win excluded. They can't afford to not at least get near 40 minutes tonight.

"We can't have times like at Kentucky when we lost our intensity," Arkansas senior Sonny Weems said.

3. REMAIN HOT FROM 3

An inconsistent 3-point shooting team early in the season, Arkansas has heated up behind the arc.

The Razorbacks rank second in the SEC in 3-point percentage during league play (86 of 231 for 37.2 percent). In the last two games, they have drained 19 of 39 from 3-point range (47.7).

Weems has steadily improved his 3-point percentage, and the Razorbacks will need another string of 3s from him tonight. Since starting 0-for-13 on 3s, Weems has made 43 of 95 (45.3).

5. KEEP MISSING 'BAMA

Well, at least they're consistent. That's all you can say for the Crimson Tide players who sit dead-last in the SEC in free throw shooting. Before SEC play began, Alabama shot 60.8 percent from the line, and after league play, still 60.8 percent.

So here's a key question: Will Arkansas hack Hendrix often? In SEC games, he is 39 of 80 for 48.8 percent.

"It might be the smart thing to do," Hill said.

4. MAKE A TIMELY SHOT

The last time Arkansas nailed an important shot down the stretch was on Jan. 13 — against Alabama.

Arkansas beat the Crimson Tide 71-67 in overtime in Bud Walton Arena, and senior Gary Ervin's 23-foot 3-pointer gave the Razorbacks the lead for good at 65-64.

If tonight is close, someone will need to hit a similar shot.

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (18-8, 7-5)

TEAM GLANCE

• COACH: John Pelphrey (1st season)

• LAST TIME OUT: Arkansas lost to Kentucky 63-58 on Feb. 23 in Lexington, Ky.

• KEY INJURIES: None

LINEUPS

PROBABLE STARTERS

Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

G Gary Ervin 6-0 Senior 9.4 2.5

G Patrick Beverley 6-1 Sophomore 11.5 6.9

C Steven Hill 7-0 Senior 5.0 3.1

F Michael Washington 6-10 Sophomore 5.5 4.6

F Sonny Weems 6-6 Senior 15.3 4.6

KEY RESERVES

F Charles Thomas 6-8 Senior 9.1 4.7

F Darian Townes 6-10 Senior 10.8 5.0

G Stefan Welsh 6-2 Sophomore 5.2 1.5

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (14-13, 3-9)

TEAM GLANCE

• COACH: Mark Gottfried (1st season)

• LAST TIME OUT: Alabama lost to Auburn 88-76 on Feb. 24 in Auburn, Ala.

• KEY INJURIES: Senior guard Mykal Riley, wrist, probable

LINEUPS

PROBABLE STARTERS

Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

G Brandon Hollinger 5-11 Junior 6.8 1.7

G Mykal Riley 6-6 Senior 14.3 5.2

G Alonzo Gee 6-6 Junior 15.6 7.3

F Demetrius Jemison 6-7 Sophomore 4.4 4.7

F Richard Hendrix 6-9 Junior 18.5 10.1

KEY RESERVES

G Rico Pickett 6-3 Freshman 5.7 1.0

G Senario Hillman 6-1 Freshman 3.8 0.9

G Mikhail Torrance 6-5 Sophomore 3.7 1.0

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