Arkansas basketball has done what previously was considered impossible — the Razorbacks have gone back to their roots to find success, yet made their program more modern, too.
Mike Anderson, in his second year as the head coach at Arkansas, installed a system similar to the 40 Minutes of Hell style the Razorbacks used to win the 1994 national championship over Duke and finish runner-up in 1995, plus get its own ESPN documentary and then-head coach Nolan Richardson into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Thursday will be Alabama’s turn to deal with the pesky Razorbacks, who average 78.3 points a game, which is about 14 more than the Tide.
“What jumps out at you is defensively, forcing 20 turnovers,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said today at a news conference previewing the game. “The pace of play is going to be critical. We’re going to have to do a great job of taking care of the basketball.”
However, Alabama’s guard-heavy roster may set up perfect for the challenge, as the Tide has only started one player listed as taller than 6-foot-6 in each of its last five games.
“For us, it’s more about understanding than the fact that we have four guards that we play,” Grant said. “It’s more about understanding what we do, when to attack, how to attack and when to slow down and run the offense.”
However, Arkansas’s tiring style could not come at a worse time, as Alabama will have just two days before traveling to Vanderbilt and Memorial Coliseum, a venue in which Alabama has not beaten the Commodores since 1990.
Contributed by Brett Hudson