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Arkansas’ Walton Arena Flooded; Practice Starts Soon

bud-walton-floodArkansas coach Mike Anderson and athletic director Jeff Long would like to see the school build a new practice facility for the Razorback basketball team.  In the past seven days, they’ve gotten some help in their push for the $20 million-plus building… from Mother Nature.

UA senior associate athletic director Kevin Trainor confirmed this week that last Friday, Bud Walton Arena “experienced water infiltration on some portions of the playing floor and areas surrounding the playing floor following heavy rains overnight.”  “Water infiltration” is a fancy way of saying the floor of the arena flooded.  Trainor also stated in an email that “the floor will be unavailable while the athletic department works to remove any excess moisture and completes a full assessment of any potential long-term damage to the playing surface.”

Arkansas’ men’s and women’s basketball teams are holding individual workouts at the school’s rec facility for the time being.  Practice officially begins early next month.

While this appears to show the need for a new practice facility, there are two things that come immediately to mind:

 

1.  Where would a practice facility be built?  Obviously, if one building can flood, so could a new practice facility.  Better put the new structure on higher ground.

2.  Be glad this didn’t happen during the season.  College basketball isn’t like Major League Baseball.  Re-scheduling a game for a later date isn’t easy.

 

Arkansas AD Jeff Long will no doubt use the flooding at Bud Walton Arena to kickstart his campaign for a new practice facility.  He recently said that he had received more “resistance” to the project than expected from fans and donors.  Perhaps last week’s heavy rains will help change a few minds.

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Big East: Syracuse Will Be Going To Arkansas For Hoops Game

On Friday, the matchups for this season’s SEC/Big East Challenge were released.  Among the games on the docket — Syracuse at Arkansas.

Shortly after the release, Syracuse officials let it be known that their school was “overcommitted” already and would not take part in the contest.  SU is in a battle to escape the Big East as soon as possible and clearly this was a negotiating ploy on the part of the school.

Well, today, ESPN is reporting that Big East officials have said negotiations between Syracuse and its current conference have “nothing to do with the actual matchup” with Arkansas.  Associate Big East commissioner Tom Odjakjian was reportedly “adamant” that the schedule released on Friday is in fact locked in, put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered, etc.

Arkansas fans, it looks like the Orange will visiting Bud Walton Arena on November 30th after all.  At least according to the Big East.

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SEC Headlines – 2/20/12

1.  The SEC has named its Players of the Week.

2.  Harvey Updyke’s attorney says the prosecution failed to establish the Toomer’s Corner oaks as “venerated objects.”  (Try telling that to an Auburn fan.)

3.  Over the weekend, Florida handed Arkansas its worst loss ever in Bud Walton Arena and its first loss in the building this season.  (Think ex-Hogs coach and current Gator assistant John Pelphrey enjoyed that?)

4.  If Mississippi State is going to snap a three-game losing streak, the Dogs will have to do so at top-ranked Kentucky.  

5.  MSU’s RPI has been dropping steadily during its current slide.

6.  Ole Miss’ odds for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament are shrinking.

7.  Florida has joined Auburn, Georgia and Ole Miss in pursuing ex-Maryland offensive lineman Max Garcia.

8.  Georgia had no answer for Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins — 28 points and 6-of-8 from 3-point range — in yesterday’s home loss.

9.  Some football Dawgs might be changing positions this spring.

10.  Cuonzo Martin remains calmly focused after Alabama snapped Tennessee’s win streak on Saturday.

11.  Vandy’s Jenkins — mentioned above — says with four seniors and a junior in the starting lineup, the Dores should be poised on the road. (And they were in Athens yesterday.)

12.  Here’s another look at what matters – or doesn’t — to the NCAA selection committee.

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SEC Headlines 1/29/2012 Part One

1. Alabama 72 – Arkansas 66.  Tides goes 20-of-25 from free-throw line as Alabama snaps four-game losing streak. Trever Releford scores 18 points as Razorbacks remain winless away from Bud Walton Arena.  Mike Anderson: “That’s life on the road.”

2. PA announcer: “Arkansas coach Mike Davis.”

3. Florida 69 – Mississippi State 57.  Gators make 11 3-point shots. Bulldogs commit 15 turnovers as Florida pulls away late.

4. The under-appreciated Billy Donovan. “There were empty seats scattered throughout the upper levels of the O’Connell Center on Saturday.”

5. Kentucky 74- LSU 50.  Season-high 27 points for Terrance Jones.

6. “If LSU had tackled in BCS game like they have in this one,” tweeted someone named @crtree, “they would have won.”

7. Scott Rabalais: “Things seem to eventually find their own level in the Southeastern Conference when it comes to its two most historically dominant football and basketball powers.”

8. C.M. Newton: ”We’re creating the passive spectator. I don’t know when enough is enough when you’re televising every game, which our coaches want.”

9. Vanderbilt 84 – Middle Tennessee State 77.  Game-high 26 points for John Jenkins.First round NCAA Tournament feel to the game.

10. Ole Miss 66 – South Carolina 62.  14 points and 11 rebounds for Murphy Holloway against his former teammates. Terrance Henry seals the win with 3-point bucket.

11. Tennessee 64 – Auburn 49. Vols have more rebounds than Tigers have points. Tennesee misses 38 shots- Auburn 39. “Stay ugly.”

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Dogs, Hogs And Cocks Win On Wednesday

Three SEC basketball games on Wednesday night… three home teams victorious.  Such is life on the road in the SEC.  Or should we say death, because most SEC teams not named Kentucky are curling up and dying when they have to travel.


South Carolina 56, Alabama 54

No wonder the Gamecocks wanted Bruce Ellington back.  The two-sport star hit a driving bucket with 1.4 seconds left to lead Carolina to its first SEC win of the season.

Alabama, on the other hand, suffered its fourth straight defeat to fall to 2-4 in the SEC.  The loss to RPI #194 Carolina won’t help the Tide come tournament selection time… assuming they get things turned around and start living up to their preseason hype.


Arkansas 56, Auburn 53

It’s obvious now why Mike Anderson left Missouri for Arkansas.  He never loses at Bud Walton Arena.  Th Razorbacks’ 15-0 mark to start the season at home is their best since the 1997-98 season under Anderson’s old boss, Nolan Richardson.

Auburn — which fell to 2-4 in the league — actually shot better than Arkansas from the floor (40% to 35%) and outrebounded them 42-29. 


Mississippi State 76, LSU 71

The Tigers put up a nice fight on the road in Starkville, but in the end, Trent Johnson’s team had no answer for Arnett Moultrie.  The UTEP transfer scored 28 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for his league-leading 12th double-double of the season.

Jalen Steele continued his hot-shooting ways with a 15 effort on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.  LSU was led by Andre Stringer who tallied 17 points off the bench.


With Florida traveling to Ole Miss tonight, here’s a look at the current SEC standings:


School
Overall Record
SEC Record
Games Back
Kentucky
20-1
6-0

Vanderbilt
15-5
5-1
1
Florida
15-4
3-1
2
Miss. State
17-4
4-2
2
Arkansas
15-5
3-2
2.5
Ole Miss
13-6
3-2
2.5
Alabama
13-7
2-4
4
Auburn
12-8
2-4
4
LSU
12-8
2-4
4
S. Carolina
9-10
1-4
4.5
Tennessee
9-11
1-4
4.5
Georgia
10-10
1-5
5


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The Hogs’ Home Floor Gets A New Paint Job

When Mike Anderson’s first Arkansas team hits the floor this winter, they’ll be doing so on a freshly painted Bud Walton Arena court.

You can click this story’s headline for a closer look, but it’s rather obvious the Razorbacks are going with a lighter-colored wood as their playing surface this year.  Too bad.  Basketball courts should look like oak… not white ash.

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SEC Lands 2 In Hoops Attendance Top 5

The NCAA released the attendance figures for the 2010-11 basketball season yesterday and the Southeastern Conference placed two teams in the Top 5 nationally — Kentucky and Tennessee.

The top-ranked Wildcats will no doubt draw huge crowds to Rupp Arena next year as John Calipari’s next wave of star youngsters arrive in the Bluegrass State.  But no one knows what to expect at fifth-ranked Tennessee, where the Vols have dismissed a wildly popular coach and face a year of uncertainties when it comes to NCAA sanctions and a thin roster.

The SEC by the numbers:


SEC Rank  National Rank  School  Games  Avg. Attendance 
Kentucky  15  23,603 
Tennessee  18  18,952
18  Vanderbilt  17  13,802 
29  Arkansas  19  11,884 
35  Alabama  19  10,983 
41  S. Carolina  17  10,427 
42  Florida  17  10,186 
60  Georgia  16  8,250 
74  LSU  18  7,153 
10  82  Ole Miss  17  6,360 
11  83  Auburn  20  6,324 
12  94  Miss. State  17  5,710 




Observations:

* Arkansas finished outside the Top 25 in attendance for the first time since Bud Walton Arena opened.  That likely won’t be the case next year with Mike Anderson now on the sideline.

* Kudos to South Carolina fans for finishing in the top half of the league in attendance despite a last-place finish in the SEC East.

* Florida fans should be ashamed.  Sure the O’Connell Center only seats 12,000, but Gator-backers didn’t even fill their bandbox.  Billy Donovan has won two national titles and led UF to an SEC outright title this past year.  What’s it take to pack a Florida basketball game?

* Good basketball or not, the fans at LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn were bested in attendance by schools such as Utah State, Bradley, Old Dominion and Siena.  That’s a Hall of Shame performance.

* Rick Stansbury is lucky to still have his job.  Not only did his Bulldogs wildly underachieve this year, but State’s attendance was the lowest in the league and ranked below that of UCF, St. Louis, George Mason, and Weber State.  That’s an embarrassment to the SEC.

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Fan Apathy Could Seal Pelphrey’s Fate

If fans pack the house and spend their cash on tickets, concessions, parking and souvenirs, a school’s losing coach can survive.  But when fans put away their wallets and decide to watch games on the HD sets in their living rooms, even winning coaches can be toppled.

At Arkansas, fan apathy is setting in and that might prove to be the final nail in John Pelphrey’s cardinal coffin — as if losses to Mississippi State and Ole Miss to close out the season weren’t bad enough.

According to Robbie Neiwanger at ArkansasNews.com, the Hogs’ attendance figures have dropped every year under Pelphrey from 17,148 (in 2007-08) to 12,022 (this year in Fayetteville games only).  Average attendance has dropped across the country since 2007 as well, but at a much more modest 5,548 to 5,245 clip.  Attendance has declined nationally… it’s nosedived at Bud Walton Arena.

Athletic director Jeff Long refuses to comment on what effect attendance and revenue numbers might have on Pelphrey, but he did put out a statement:


We are appreciative of our fans and their continued support in attending Razorback Basketball.  Although our average attendance has fallen in recent seasons it still ranks more than twice the national average.  We are committed to returning Bud Walton Arena to its place among the national attendance leaders.


When comparing UA’s 12,022 average attendance to the national average of 5,245, yes, things do look rosy.  But when you compare 12,022 to the Razorbacks’ attendance figure of 17,148 from just three seasons ago, the picture goes from looking rosy to red.  As in, “UA basketball is running in the red.”  And that’s not a good sign for the Hogs’ beleaguered head coach.

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Another Day, Another Suspension At Arkansas

Taking into consideration the mess he inherited upon arrival, we here at MrSEC.com have thrown some support behind embattled Arkansas coach John Pelphrey the last couple of years.  We’ve called out Razorback fans for not filling Bud Walton Arena.  We’ve tsk-tsked columnists who’ve taken potshots at UA’s top hog.

Well.  Ya know.  Maybe we were wrong.

Pelphrey has now suspended yet another player from his team.  Forward Marshawn Powell — a preseason All-SEC selection who is still recovering from an offseason broken foot — will be out indefinitely.

“I think it’s a fluid timetable,” Pelphrey said.  “I think it can be as long as it needs to be and it can be as short as it needs to be.”

Not unlike Pelphrey’s tenure in Fayetteville.

Powell’s playing time has dropped recently and Pelphrey has refused to say why.  A day after Powell returned from Christmas break late — due to a car accident — Pelphrey delivered the news of the suspension to his forward.  “I think he took it pretty well.”

Even so, Pelphrey has now suspended 16 different players during his four-year stay at UA.  That’s exactly half of the players who’ve “suited up for multiple games,” as ArkansasSports360.com puts it.

At this point, it seems that one of the following statements must be true:

a.  Pelphrey has no control over his team and, therefore, constantly needs to discipline and suspend players.

b.  Pelphrey has recruited a long line of miscreants and no-goodniks who continue to prove incapable of conforming to the coach’s rules.

c.  Pelphrey is such a stickler and has handed out so much discipline that his admonishments and punishments no longer carry any weight whatsoever with his troops.  Meaning: If a dog barks long enough, you eventually learn to tune it out.

d.  Pelphrey is Norman Dale.  Does he force his players to dribble between chairs?  Has he handed down a “four passes before every shot” edict?  Will he play with four players rather than send a disobedient fifth player back onto the court?  Perhaps at some point.

But judging from the results so far, we’ll take options a, b or c over option d. 

And we’re starting to understand why Razorback fans are staying away from Bud Walton Arena in droves.  It’s hard to like a team that the coach himself can’t seem to stand.

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Arkansas Welcomes Back Patsatsia

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas hosts Troy on Saturday and welcomes back former player Levan Patsatsia in the process.

No, it’s not as hyped as the return of Sunday Adebayo with Memphis more than a decade ago, but it isn’t every day you see a former Razorbacks player come back to Bud Walton Arena as a member of another team.

Patsatsia was a member of John Pelphrey’s first recruiting class at Arkansas lettered in 2007-08 as a seldom-used reserve. The Georgian-native averaged just 2.1 minutes per game in nine appearances that season before transferring to Pensacola Junior College.

That isn’t the story at Troy, however. Patsatsia is averaging 13.8 points per game for the Trojans (1-5) this season and has started every game.

“He’s a tremendous kid and we’re appreciative of all the things he did for us here,” Pelphrey said. “It’s not all bad sometimes when guys make decisions to go some place else. He’s done very well for himself. It doesn’t mean it’s not unfortunate because it is. He is a big part of their basketball team.”

Troy is coming off a 78-57 loss to Alabama-Birmingham on Monday. Arkansas won’t be the first opponent from the SEC for the Trojans, who lost at Alabama and at Mississippi State in overtime.

The Razorbacks (4-1) are coming off an 84-74 win over Oklahoma on Wednesday. The game against Troy will mark the first weekend game this season at Bud Walton Arena.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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