So far in 2010, Arkansas and LSU have traded SEC West places from 2009.


So far in 2010, Arkansas and LSU have traded SEC West places from 2009.
It behooves the Razorbacks, 14-13, 7-5 in the SEC, not to swap again as they visit the LSU Tigers tonight.
Tip-off is 7 tonight at the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, La. and will be televised by the SEC network.
Coach John Pelphrey’s Razorbacks, worst in the West last year at 2-14, share best in the West  with Mississippi State and only three games left after tonight.
Last year’s SEC West champions, second-year coach Trent Johnson’s Tigers, currently 9-17 overall, are a SEC worst 0-12. Arkansas flogged them in Fayetteville, 87-52 on Feb. 10 at Walton Arena.
That’s a game both teams now want to forget.
Pelphrey prefers distancing it because he knows the Razorbacks, losing their last two road games to Alabama and Auburn teams teams they beat at Walton,  likely are in for a tough time in Baton Rouge.
Led by senior forward Tasmin Mitchell’s 25 points including a go-ahead basket with 15 seconds left, the Tigers just missed in Baton Rouge ambushing 19th-ranked Mississippi State last Saturday night in a 60-59 game won by a Mississippi State 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left.
And their previous game at 16th-ranked Vanderbilt, the Tigers only lost by eight.
“LSU is getting better,” Pelphrey said. “We’ve seen that with the last couple of games they played against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.  They have a great one in Tasmin Mitchell.  We’ll have to be better than we’ve been the last two games on the road to have a chance to win.”
And it would seem Johnson’s Tigers must flush the Fayetteville memory of Feb. 10 to have the confidence to beat an Arkansas team that “pretty much did what it wanted to us.”
Perhaps playing Vanderbilt and Mississippi State so tough has flushed the Tigers’ memory of getting waxed at Walton.
“I don’t  know if if flushes their memory,” Johnson said, “because we have been real inconsistent. There have been some games we really got it handed to us and then other games where we came back and fought. It’s important for me if we can just sustain the effort. But no they haven’t forgotten. You don’t go 0-12 in the league and forget.”
They might remember though, that they lost their second-best player, guard Bo Spencer, to an ankle injury during the first half in Fayetteville.  Spencer is two games returned and averaging 13.3 in points in SEC games while Mitchell, 15 points and 13 rebounds in Fayetteville, nearly averages a double-double in SEC games at 17.7 points/9.8 rebounds.
LSU starting forward Storm Warren, 12.1 points/7.3 rebounds, “has really improved,” Pelphrey said.
Freshman Marshawn Powell, nine points versus LSU, is Arkansas’ hottest scorer now.