Arkansas Razorbacks 22-10 (9-7)
Key Wins: N-Baylor, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, N-Tennessee
Key Losses: N-Providence, Appalachian State, South Carolina, at Georgia, N-Georgia
Key Stat: Bench Scoring 38-percent
Biggest Strengths: The Razorbacks are deep, they have great size and they are experienced.
Their bench has been a key to their success all season long. The reserves have scored more than 30 points in nearly half of their games this season. The leader off of the bench has been Darian Townes as he has scored in double figures 20 times and shot over 50-percent in 21 games.
With six guys who stand taller than 6’8” (Charles Thomas, Darian Townes, Michael Washington, Vincent Hunter and Stephen Hill) the Hogs have tremendous size underneath. Defensively, they are led by Stephen Hill. Hill is only one of four players in SEC history to record more than 300 blocks in their career. While they give up a little offensively with Hill on the court his presence underneath shores up their defense.
Biggest Weaknesses: The Razorbacks have a lot of fouls to give because of their depth. However, they often get in trouble by sending opponents to the line so often. In their ten losses they have committed 214 fouls, an average of 21.4 per game, and have watched opponents knock down 180 of 242 free throws (.744). In their ten losses, opponents have outscored Arkansas by 66 from the line.
The only team with more talent in the SEC than the Razorbacks is Tennessee. But at times this year they have struggled with consistency. The loss to Appalachian State signifies the struggles they have had at times.
Most Important Player: In his second year at Arkansas it seems that Sonny Weems has made the adjustment from junior college basketball to major Division I conference play. The senior was recently named to the All-SEC First Team in recognition of his strong play.
At the beginning of the season Weems struggled from beyond the arc, missing his first 13 attempts from beyond the arc. Since then he is knocking down 43-percent from deep and has became a definite threat from distance.
Weems has the ability to score is so many different ways. When he is assertive and shoots the ball with confidence he is really difficult to guard.
X-Factor: Patrick Beverley makes this team go. He is an excellent scorer who has the ability to knock down open shots and get into the lane. When head coach John Pelphrey is asked about the importance of Beverley he recognizes his importance as a scorer but is quick to turn to the intangibles he provides. Pelphrey focuses on the sophomore’s toughness, his heart and his willingness to take charges and dive on the floor.
At 6’1” he has an incredible motor and he is a phenomenal rebounder for his size. He is leading the Hogs in rebounding on the season with 6.8 per game. In SEC play he is averaging an uncanny 8.3 rebounds-per-game, which ranks him fourth in the conference. The sophomore has finished with double-figure rebounds seven times.
Might Lose When: South Carolina defeated Arkansas in mid-January by inserting a smaller lineup and causing match-up problems. The Razorbacks are so big and really do not have any one on their roster to even help them practice against smaller lineups. If you are able to get out in transition and consistently make their big guys run you can cause them problems.
Might Surprise You With: When Sonny Weems and Patrick Beverly shoot the ball effectively they can beat a lot of teams. They run so many guys at you and have the ability to wear teams down with the amount of bigs they have underneath. Their recent conference tournament victories over Vanderbilt and Tennessee may be a sign that the Razorbacks have finally found the consistency they have lacked all season and are ready to make a run in the NCAA tournament.
Predicted finish in the NCAA’s: 1st Round