These Arkansas Razorbacks don’t measure up to the Vanderbilt

Commodores they will meet in Saturday’s 5 p.m. FOX Sports Network televised SEC game

at Vandy’s Memorial Gym in Nashville,  Tenn.


These Arkansas Razorbacks don’t measure up to the Vanderbilt
Commodores they will meet in Saturday’s 5 p.m. FOX Sports Network televised SEC game
at Vandy’s Memorial Gym in Nashville,  Tenn.

Vandy’s  shortest starter is 6-3, taller by two or three listed inches than any of
Arkansas’ three guards that have started most of the Razorbacks’ SEC games.

So with Vandy, 14-4, 2-2 in the SEC East going into its Thursday night SEC game at
Mississippi State, starting Brady Tinsley, 6-3, and John Jenkins, 6-4, in the
backcourt and center  Festus Ezeli, 6-11,  Jeffery Taylor, 6-7, and Lance
Goulbourne, 6-8, up front, Arkansas starting big men Marshawn Powell, 6-7, and
Delvon Johnson, 6-9, need a little more height help than a complementing trio of
guards Rotnei Clarke, the  6-foot shooter, and point guards Jeff Peterson, also a
generously listed 6-foot, and 6-1 Julysses Nobles can provide.

So look for Arkansas coach John Pelphrey, as he did in Arkansas’ 73-64 SEC victory
over the Auburn Tigers Tuesday night at Walton Arena, to minimize using Nobles,
Peterson and Clarke in triumvirate.

Marcus Britt, the 6-3 senior guard and Madison native and graduate from Forrest City
High, subbed for Peterson as a starter against Auburn with either 6-2 freshman
Mardracus Wade, 6-3 freshman Rickey Scott or 6-5 senior Jemal Farmer often entering
the game when Peterson played off the bench.
Britt or one of the freshmen likely will start with Nobles and Clarke against Vandy.

“We’re going to try to see where Rickey, Mardracus and Marcus are with that a little
bit,” Pelphrey said before the Razorbacks practiced Thursday.  “Not that there won’t
be a point in time in the game where we play both point guards together with Rotnei.
That’s possible. I think based on lineups and matchups and stuff  we’re going to do
both. We prefer to be as big as we possibly could. But by the same token we want to
make sure that we’ve got the best five guys out there at that moment in time.”

Farmer’s eight minutes against Auburn marked his first action since contemplated
discontinuing playing with the team after the Jan. 12 loss at LSU.

Pelphrey said Farmer’s head and heart looked back in the game against Auburn not
only when he was in the game, but just as importantly, when he wasn’t.

“I commented to him that I saw him on the bench being as good a cheerleader as
anybody,” Pelphrey said.  “I thought he was very enthusiastic for the guys. I
thought we had a good bench.”

With Farmer back and Powell and forward Michael Sanchez and Scott healed from
early-season (actually preseason in the cases of Powell and Sanchez) injuries, the
Hogs finally have a full scholarship roster at their disposal.

“Everybody is a key piece to the team,” sophomore forward Glenn Bryant, along with
Britt the two Razorbacks made media available Thursday, said.  “And if you are
injured that’s like having a missing piece to the puzzle. We have had  to do the
best we can for the people that are out. When we are healthy, we are a great
basketball team, I think.”

Britt remarked, “We need everybody on the team because everybody plays a big part of
the team. Now that we have everybody back we can really make some noise.”

And stand their ground. Against Auburn, the Hogs, 13-6, 3-3 in the SEC West, finally
outrebounded a SEC opponent.
They not  only  must stand firm but attack, Britt said, to have a chance on the
boards at Vandy.

“We have to box out and hit a dude,” Britt said. “Hit somebody instead of just
looking around like we usually do. We have to attack them instead of them attacking

Junior 3-year lettermen Britt, the only active Razorback  other than Clarke to play
at Memorial Gym where the benches are on opposite baselines rather than alongside
the court, said the biggest adjustment might be for players subbing off the bench.

“Most of the SEC courts you don’t have to go all the way down to the other end to
check in to the game,” Britt said.

Former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino referred to Memorial Gym as the place where “Your
players go riding off into the sunset” and can’t possibly hear a coach’s
instructions when on the opposite baseline.

Britt said point guards Nobles and Peterson must adjust accordingly.

“The guard has to turn around and look and see what the Coach called,” Britt said.
“So there is a slight problem but it’s not a big deal. It’s just something you have
to get used to. If you can play ball, you are automatically just going to call your
own plays anyway. The point guards just have to call their  own plays and read the