The Saline Courier Weekend
Hogs try to get back on track vs. Rebels
FAYETTEVILLE – No. 25 Arkansas is back home on Saturday to play host to Ole Miss, another team that is struggling in SEC play going into today’s 11 a.m. contest.
Both Arkansas and Ole Miss are 1-5 in SEC play, but the Rebels are coming off a 70-58 road win on Tuesday night at South Carolina. Eric Musselman and the Hogs are coming off a 79-76 loss at Missouri Wednesday night and have lost four in a row. Musselman gave Ole Miss and Coach Kermit Davis credit for getting a road win prior to heading to Arkansas.
“I give Kermit’s team a lot of credit,” Musselman said. “They won a game on the road at South Carolina. They really competed. He’ll change up defenses, they’ll play some 1-3-1, they’ll play some man. Kermit’s teams always play extremely hard, so they’ll compete and I’m sure they’re feeling good coming off of a win and especially coming off of a road win.”
Arkansas is 0-4 in true road games, but 8-1 in the friendly confines of Bud Walton Arena. The only blemish on the home record was an 85-69 loss to Alabama on Jan. 11 in Arkansas’ last home game. Some good news for the Hogs is the next three SEC games will be in Bud Walton Arena. After Ole Miss, they host LSU on Tuesday, then step outside the SEC to travel to Baylor a Saturday game and then back home to host take on Texas A&M Tuesday,
Musselman was asked how good it is to get three SEC games in a row at home?
“Yeah we have to try and get ready for Ole Miss,” Musselman said. “Yeah, this is the most difficult schedule that I’ve seen. We still have to go to Tennessee. We still have to go to Alabama. We still have to go to Texas A&M. So this schedule that is in front of us is still extremely difficult.”
Junior guard Matthew Murrell is leading Ole Miss in scoring, averaging 15.6 points per game. Musselman is very aware of Murrell.
“We watched, as a staff, their whole game last night,” Musselman said. “Murrell’s a really good scorer. He’s got 3-point range. You’ve gotta chase him off screens with the high hand before the catch. You’ve gotta locate him as he comes across half court. Can’t give him any air space. He’s one of the best scorers in the SEC.”
Anthony Black had 15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, a steal and two blocks. Black talked about getting back into Bud Walton for the next three SEC games.
“It’s good, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to win,” Black said. “Away, home, we’ve got to figure out a way to win. These next couple, like you said, three home games, we’ve got to win them all if we’re trying to do what we’re trying to do. We’ve got to just start winning.”
The Hogs are 4-1 on neutral courts so they have won away from home, but just not true road contests.
Arkansas (12-6, 1-5) and Ole Miss (9-9, 1-5) will tip at 11 a.m. this morning televised on ESPN2.