Other than maybe at Florida where they were flattened, 75-43 last Saturday, the Arkansas Razorbacks are hard put to find a more difficult place to notch their first SEC road victory in 2011 than the Vanderbilt Commodores’ Memorial Gym.

Other than maybe at Florida where they were flattened, 75-43 last Saturday, the Arkansas Razorbacks are hard put to find a more difficult place to notch their first SEC road victory in 2011 than the Vanderbilt Commodores’ Memorial Gym.
Arkansas, 13-6, 3-3 in the SEC West, visits Vanderbilt, 15-4, 3-2 in the SEC East, in Saturday’s 5 p.m. FOX Sports Network televised game in Nashville, Tenn.
The Commodores sail 11-0 in 2010-2011 at their uniquely configured (benches on the opposite baselines) Memorial Gym. SEC rivals Georgia and Ole Miss have fallen at Memorial. Thursday night coach Kevin Stallings’ Commodores downed Mississippi State, 81-74 in a SEC game at Starkville, Miss.
The Razorbacks wallow 0-4 for all true road games this season, including 0-3 in the SEC.
However Arkansas, 11-0 at Walton Arena, does come off 73-64 SEC victory over Auburn Tuesday night at Walton.
Coach John Pelphrey would like his Razorbacks to take with them the part of
Tuesday’s game where they led Auburn by 24 points with 9:08. He prefers they leave home the part where Auburn cut the lead to six with 1:10 left.  The Razorbacks players uttered the same sentiments after Julysses Nobles’ clutch free throws (10 of 10 in the second half) kept Auburn at bay. 
“Somebody told me after the game,” Pelphrey said, “guys were, maybe even before their showers, talking about having a chance, trying to get focused for the next one. They understand how big a challenge Vanderbilt is.”
And the pride they could take in winning there. It won’t be easy. Coach Kevin Stallings’ Commodores are tough enough to beat when they are on the road, as Mississippi State discovered, much less at home.
“Vanderbilt is obviously a very, very good basketball team,” Pelphrey said.  “A team that’s got very good experience (starting four juniors and a sophomore) when you look at them in terms of every position. They play very well together from the offensive side of it. They apply pressure to you at all the spots.” It seems every Vanderbilt team Arkansas has faced since joining the SEC in 1992 has been a good shooting team with at least one great shooter. 
Vandy again fills the bill on both counts. John Jenkins, Vandy’s leading scorer with an 18.8 average, and Arkansas’ Rotnei Clarke are the SEC’s best pure shooters in Pelphrey’s view.
One major difference, though, Clarke gets smothered sometimes at a generously listed 6-feet. Jenkins stands 6-4.
“He’s a tremendous, tremendous shooter,” Pelphrey said. “What makes him different than most guards is his size – just great, great size for a guard and strong. He’s having a phenomenal year. I think he’s the leading scorer in the SEC.”
The Commodores customarily sport shooters among the SEC best often not the SEC best athletes. They have one of the best this season, though, Jeffery Taylor, the 6-7 junior jumping jack averaging 15.2 points.
“Jeffery Taylor is one of the most outstanding athletes in the country,” Pelphrey said.  Taylor had a highlight film steal and dunk staving off Mississippi State in the final minute Thursday night that awed even the hostile Humphrey Coliseum crowd.  “Anybody could have made that steal,” Stallings said,  “but I don’t think anyone else besides Jeff could’ve finished the play like he did.” Taylor tallied 25 points while Jenkins scored 21 in Starkville.  Point guard Brad Tinsley, also tall at 6-3 and averaging 10.3 points, finds them both as Vandy’s assists leader. Inside, Vandy big men 6-11 Festus Ezeli and 6-8 Lance Goulbourne combine to average 21.5 points and 14.5 rebounds.  It’s a tall order, but Arkansas 6-1 sophomore point guard Nobles says everything is a tall order on the road and that the Hogs must climb over the hump.  “We have got to go on the road and win,” Nobles said.   “It’s hard to win on the road, but we’ve got to do it some time.”


Arkansas (13-6, 3-3)
F-Marshawn Powell 6-7 So. 10.4 pts.    4.4 rebs.
C-Delvon Johnson 6-9 Sr.   10.7 7.8
G-Julysses Nobles 6-1 So.   9.0 2.8
G-Rotnei Clarke 6-0     Jr.    12.5 3.4

G-Marcus Britt 6-3     Sr.       4.4 1.8

Vanderbilt (15-4, 3-2)
F-Jeffery Taylor 6-7 Jr.      15.2 pts.  5.2 rebs.

F-Lance Goulbourne 6-8 Jr.   8.8    8.2

C-Festus Ezeli 6-11   Jr.     12.7     6.1

G-Brad Tinsley 6-3 Jr.     10.3    4.4

G-John Jenkins 6-4 So.  18.3   3.2