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Will He Or Won’t He? Bielema Isn’t Saying if Arkansas QB Allen Will Play This Week

Brandon AllenFollowing yesterday practice, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said that he has no new information on the status of starting quarterback Brandon Allen.  Allen suffered a bruised right shoulder during the first quarter of the Razorbacks’ 24-3 win over Southern Miss last Saturday.

Bielema stated earlier in the week that he would not make the mistake of playing Allen before his injury has healed.  If Allen can’t go Saturday at Rutgers, backup quarterback AJ Derby will be called upon to lead the Hogs.  Derby completed just four-of-six passes for 36 yards against the Golden Eagles as Arkansas relied on its power run game to engineer the victory.

This week’s opponent, Rutgers, ranks fifth nationally in run defense, having allowed just 178 yards on 90 carries (1.98 ypc) through three games.

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USC Hoops Lands Southern Miss Transfer

Lashay Page is going home to the Palmetto State.  (And having just spent a few days over there, I can’t blame him.)

The Southern Miss guard who averaged 11.6 points and 3.4 rebounds last season said over the weekend that he’s “thrilled about having the opportunity to play for Frank martin and turning the South Carolina program around.”  Page was given his release by new Golden Eagles coach Donnie Tyndall earlier this month.  His mother died in February the player — who has a five-year-old daughter in Marion, South Carolina — is hoping to get NCAA and SEC waivers that would allow him to play immediately for the Gamecocks.

The SEC instituted a “no one-year transfer rule for graduate students” just a year ago, but the league has already shown that it will allow players — like new Missouri hoops transfer Alex Oriakhi — to play if they enter a graduate program not offered by their old school.  (So, basically, the rule has no teeth, which is a good thing because it was a bad rule.)

Page is on schedule to graduate at Southern Miss this summer.

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Donovan’s Reinvented Gators Face Marquette Tonight

When Will Yeguete went down with a season-ending foot injury it appeared that with him went Florida’s frontcourt game, its defense and its chances at a prolonged NCAA Tournament run.  Losing four of their last five entering the tourney, those prognostications of doom looked pretty darn accurate.

Two blowout wins over Virginia and Norfolk State later, the Gators are heading to a 10:15pm ET game with Marquette tonight (on TNT).  So what changed?

Yeguete says the team simply got “used to me not playing” and “we’ve been really good on defense.”  Head coach Billy Donovan says his players simply realized “things that they needed to do” in Yeguete’s absence.

Kenny Boynton agrees with his coach: “The main concern was who was gonna rebound?  Who was going to do the small stuff he did on the court?  I think the answer to that was basically the whole team.  It takes a whole team to equal that out.”

Freshman Bradley Beal has also emerged, averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds through two tourney games.  For the season he averaged 6.7 boards per game.  His added toughness will be needed tonight against a Marquette squad that’s a #3 seed and by far the best team UF has seen in this year’s March Madness.

For their part, Golden Eagles’ coach Buzz Williams — I still slip and call them the Warriors on occasion — says Florida may be the most dangerous offensive team his club has faced all year.

“There’s very few teams — everybody knows that they lead the country in three-point field goal makes, but there’s very few teams that have that offensive rebounding percentage that at the same time have those offensive efficiency type numbers,” Williams told the press yesterday.  “So it’s as potent an offensive team as I’ve studied this year.  And that speaks to Coach Donovan and his staff and the guys that they’ve recruited.  But it also speaks to their development of those guys and then their style of play and how it enhances their talent.”

Win and Donovan — complete with a team that reinvented itself late in the season — will reach his fifth Elite Eight in 16 years at Florida and his second in a row.  Considering how his team looked in the immediate aftermath of Yeguete’s injury, that’d be a helluva job well done.

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