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SEC Headlines – 4/7/11 Part Two

1.  Nick Saban doesn’t want his team to get a sense of entitlement this year.

2.  Bama receiver Brandon Gibson wants to have a season to remember.

3.  Alfred McCullough knows the Tide’s system better than Aaron Douglas in their battle at left tackle.

4.  Ken Carter wants to be “that guy” on Auburn’s defensive line. 

5.  Quindarius Carr wants to go from role player to starting receiver on The Plains.

6.  Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley are still friends despite their quarterback competition.

7.  Arkansas’ leading returning scorer — Rotnei Clarke — has told Mike Anderson that he’ll be back in Fayetteville next season.

8.  The Razorbacks are building depth at defensive end.

9.  Tyler Wilson and Brandon Mitchell are still fighting for the starting QB job.

10.  Even without Patrick Peterson, LSU might have a special secondary in 2011.

11.  Brad Wing has some big shoes to fill as the Tigers’ punter this fall.

12.  Chris Faulk is getting used to playing on the left side of LSU’s O-line.

13.  Mississippi State is as deep as its ever been at wide receiver.

14.  Vick Ballard and LaDarius Perkins figure to be a 1-2 punch at tailback for the Bulldogs.

15.  This writer brings you seven observations at the midway point of Ole Miss’ spring practice.

16.  Matt Hall –  a transfer from Arkansas — is in the mix for a starting spot on the Rebels’ offensive line.

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SEC Headlines – 3/9/11 Part Two

1.  Alabama’s JaMychal Green is thankful he was tabbed for the All-SEC team.

2.  Anthony Grant was glad to see his old boss win SEC Coach of the Year honors.

3.  Alabama will hold its Pro Day today… alas, with no live TV coverage.  (One more trivial tidbit for Bama and Auburn fans to snipe over.)

4.  Tony Barbee’s Auburn team has added confidence heading into the SEC Tournament.

5.  Former Tiger Zach Clayton made a big impression at Auburn’s Pro Day.

6.  Cam Newton isn’t finished with his pro preps yet.

7.  Rotnei Clarke and Delvon Johnson were recognized by the SEC’s coaches yesterday.  (And not in a, “Hey, I know that guy,” kinda way.)

8.  Former Hog tight end DJ Williams didn’t take part int he speed and agility tests during Arkansas’ Pro Day.

9.  Despite an up-and-down season, LSU’s Ralston Turner was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team.

10.  New LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger got some advice and help – after his dismissal from Georgia — from former New Orleans Saint Danny Abramowicz (and others).

11.  Lots of jobs are up for grabs as the Tigers gear up for spring practice.

12.  Attendance at The Hump in Starkville dropped by nearly 17% this season.  (That’s not good for Rick Stansbury.)

13.  MSU AD Scott Stricklin prefers the velvet glove approach while Dan Mullen prefers to use a hammer.

14.  Backup linebacker Michale Hunt has quit the team because “he lost his love of the game.”

15.  Andy Kennedy and his team continue to tease impatient Ole Miss fans.

16.  Mississippi’s Chris Warren and Reginald Buckner have been honored by the SEC’s coaches.

17.  Ole Miss AD Pete Boone answers the biggest complaints about him right here… including the one about him killin’ off poor Colonel Reb.  (‘Cause nothing’s more important than a guy in a suit with a giant stuffed head.)

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Clarke And Knight Named Players Of The Week

Arkansas shooting guard Rotnei Clarke has been named the SEC’s Player of the Week for his work last week.  Clarke averaged 21.5 points in the Razorbacks wins over Kentucky and Auburn.  He has now scored more than 1,200 points in his UA career.

Meanwhile, Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight has been named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week.  Knight averaged 21 points, 5.5 assists and 4 rebounds in UK’s games with Arkansas and Florida.

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SEC Headlines – 2/8/11 Part Two

1.  This writer says Alabama will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament when it get in.

2.  The lawsuit of a former Auburn player against a former Auburn trainer has been dismissed.  (And trainers and schools across the country can breathe a sigh of relief.

3.  Uh-oh.  John Pelphrey is saying “a better bounce of the ball here or there” and Arkansas might’ve avoided back-to-back home losses last week.  Fans say that stuff all the time… but they sure don’t like hearing coaches say it.

4.  Pelphrey says Mississippi State (Wednesday’s opponent) is “a very talented basketball team” with or without Ravern Johnson.

5.  Former LSU corner Patrick Peterson received his Thorpe Award yesterday.

6.  For the first time since December 22nd, Trent Johnson expects to have his regular starting five available for tomorrow’s game against Ole Miss.

7.  The Tigers’ coach opened up about his team’s many struggles yesterday.

8.  Andy Kennedy sometimes forgets that Reginald Buckner is “still a 19-year-old sophomore trying to figure things out.”

9.  Chris Warren is just 28 points away from moving into third place on UM’s all-time scoring chart.

10.  LSU’s Ralston Turner is looking to have a better shooting night against the Rebels tomorrow than he had the first time the teams met.

11.  Rick Stansbury says Ravern Johnson’s Twitter-fueled suspension is now indefinite.  (Still no punishment for Renardo Sidney who re-tweeted Johnson’s comments.)

12.  Even though Johnson’s out, the Bulldogs should be used to missing key players by now.

13.  When MSU faces Arkansas tomorrow, Dee Bost, Rotnei Clarke and Marshawn Powell will all be dealing with ankle injuries.

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The Streak Stops at One: Arkansas 84, Oklahoma 74

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In a game that will no doubt be remembered as fondly and vividly as the Hogs’ 1978 Orange Bowl upset of Oklahoma, the Razorback hoopsters defeated their Sooner counterparts 84 to 74 tonight in Bud Walton Arena. OK, so this game probably won’t live in Arkansas history. But for those 48 of us still paying attention to the basketball team, it was an encouraging win nonetheless.

Granted, this Sooner squad won’t be confused with the early 70s UCLA Bruins any time soon, but it was good to see the Hogs bounce back strongly from their semi-comatose effort last Friday against UAB. The Hogs led by as many as 17 in the second half.

From the ”no surprises” file, sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke led the way, scoring 20 points while making 7 of 12 from the field. Other highlights include the team’s making 23 of its 26 free throws, its field-goal percentage of 50 percent, Jeff Peterson‘s 15 points, and solid efforts by Peterson’s fellow newcomers Marvell Waithe, Mardracus Wade and Rickey Scott.

Now if only Marshawn Powell could fully recover from his foot injury, this season could yet turn out to be an interesting and enjoyable one.

For those of you who watched the game, what are your thoughts on tonight’s win and the season thus far?

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Hogs Drop First Game in Overtime

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas could muster only one comeback Friday night.

Jeff Peterson’s 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation sent the game to overtime, but the Razorbacks couldn’t find any offensive production in the extra frame, falling 70-65 to Alabama-Birmingham at Verizon Arena.

Arkansas (3-1) went just 1-for-6 from the free throw line in overtime, while UAB (4-1) drained two 3-pointers.

“They made it really difficult for us in overtime,” Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. “They continued to do a real good job of executing their stuff.

“Tough game. Tough loss.”

Jamarr Sanders, who hit a shot at the buzzer to beat Arkansas last season, scored 19 points for the Blazers to lead all scorers. Ovie Soko added 17 points, including a three-point play to give the Blazers a 68-60 lead with less than a minute remaining in overtime.

Delvon Johnson added 18 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort for the Razorbacks. Peterson scored 13 points, while Rotnei Clarke and Julysses Nobles each had 10.

Marshawn Powell scored six points and four rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench in his first playing time since the season opener two weeks ago.

“He’s obviously not where he’s going to be,” Pelphrey said. “I thought he made aggressive moves and got us close to the basket.”

Peterson’s shot tied the game at 57-all and capped a 9-2 Arkansas run in the final minute.

“We did tonight one of the toughest things that you can do on the road and that is lose a big lead, go into overtime on a last-second shot and be able to win the game in overtime,” UAB coach Mike Davis said. “It speaks volumes about our guys.”

The Razorbacks led 11-7 midway through the first half, but the Blazers countered with a 7-0 run and didn’t trail again until Powell’s jumper gave Arkansas a 21-20 halftime lead.

It was a tough night on the offensive end for Arkansas. The Razorbacks hit just 25 of 66 shots from the floor, including 3 of 21 from 3-point range. The Blazers shot 48 percent.

An announced crowd of 8,425 fans watched the game – the largest crowd at an Arkansas game this season.

The Razorbacks return to the court next Wednesday with a game against Oklahoma at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

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

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Arkansas 66, SEMO 56

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FAYETTEVILLE – Rotnei Clarke scored a game-high 19 points and Arkansas overcame a sluggish first half to down Southeast Missouri State 66-56 Tuesday at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas (3-0) used a 14-2 run early in the second half to add some cushion after Lucas Nutt’s 3-pointer pulled the Redhawks within 34-33 just after halftime.

After trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, SEMO was down only 34-30 at the break thanks in large part to out-rebounding the Razorbacks 23-15 before the intermission.

Delvon Johnson finished just shy of a double-double for Arkansas with 10 points and nine rebounds. Julysses Nobles added 13 points to the winning cause.

Leon Powell, a former teammate of Johnson’s at Indian Hills Community College, scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Redhawks (0-5).

The game marked SEMO coach Dickey Nutt’s first trip back to the Natural State since resigning from Arkansas State in 2008. Nutt, who spent 13 years at Jonesboro, is the brother of former Arkansas and current Ole Miss head football coach Houston Nutt.

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In the Beginning: Arkansas 75, Grambling State 52

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After the last couple of seasons, if there’s any fanbase that has learned to not take pre-conference games against seemingly unthreatening teams for granted, it’s the Razorback fanbase.

Tonight, though, we breathe easy: the Hogs cruised to a 75 to 52 victory over Grambling State after taking a 20-point lead into halftime. Rotnei Clarke was the hero of the evening: he drained five of 10 three-point attempts and made all of his free throws to end the game with 20 points. After that, no one’s stat line jumps out at you. Balance was the theme of the evening, as six Hogs scored 7 points apiece and two others scored 5 points apiece. 

One thing about the box score that does jump out at you, though, is this: these Hogs have some seriously cool names: Mardracus Wade, Julysses Nobles and Kikko Haydar. Our favorite Prussian general/fullback Van Stumon officially has some competition for the coolest name on the U of A campus.

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Peterson, Clarke to Return Thursday

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Arkansas fans will get their first look at guards Jeff Peterson and Rotnei Clarke on Thursday when the Razorbacks host Victory University in the final exhibition of the preseason.

Peterson, a transfer from Iowa, hasn’t played any this preseason with a hamstring injury. Clarke missed the Red-White scrimmage and the exhibition over the weekend with a suspension for a violation of team rules.

“We’d like to have those guys get some reps,” Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. “I’d like to have all those guys get some reps. It’s probably more important for me than anything else, to see how we’re responding, and find the right combinations, good rotations and those types of things.”

Pelphrey said Peterson’s role will be limited, similar to that of Marshawn Powell in the Razorbacks’ 101-60 win over LeMoyne Owen on Saturday. Powell scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds in his first action back from a broken foot.

“Jeff is practicing more,” Pelphrey said. “We’re leaving him in for some competitive parts of practice.

“The goal for the next two days is some 5-on-5 stuff. We’ll take him out of the some of the other stuff. But we’re going to get him out there in some 5-on-5 situations.”

Clarke is Arkansas’ leading returning scorer after averaging 15.1 points per game last season.

“It will be good to have Rotnei back out there with us and get his input,” Pelphrey said. “He’s been practicing very well.

Arkansas and Victory will tip-off at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena.

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

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Basketball Media Day Notes

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Arkansas is holding its annual preseason basketball media day today at Bud Walton Arena. Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey just wrapped up and we’re about to go speak to the players, but before we do here are a few notes to pass along:

- Pelphrey said Marshawn Powell is practicing on a limited basis as he continues to recover from a broken foot suffered in August. Pelphrey said Powell’s status for the Nov. 6 exhibition against LeMoyne Owen is unknown. “We’re focusing more on the season opener (in those terms),” Pelphrey said.

- Suspended guard Rotnei Clarke has taken practice time at point guard, Pelphrey said, as Jeff Peterson continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Clarke is suspended through the next exhibition game for a violation of team rules. Pelphrey said he is looking forward to Peterson – a transfer from Iowa – returning. “He is kind of a liasion between the coach and the floor.”

- Pelphrey said Michael Sanchez is “more trim” and a “better player” than he was prior to his plantar fasciitis that forced him to miss most of last season.

We will have much more from media day later this afternoon.

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

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