FAYETTEVILLE -- After receiving pats on the back for clobbering UConn before their last game last Saturday night, the Arkansas Razorbacks enter Walton Arena tonight off a kick in the pants.
The Razorbacks, 5-2, and the Colorado State Rams, 4-4, tip off at 7 p.m. on the Razorbacks' radio network and SEC+ on the internet.
Coach Mike Anderson's Razorbacks had played impressively, winning 2 of 3 against traditional powerhouses Oklahoma, North Carolina, their defeat, and UConn, particularly the 102-67 rout over UConn during the Thanksgiving weekend at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland.
However they got more than a comeuppance last Saturday night in Houston when the Houston Cougars embarrassed them, 91-65.
Anderson during his Monday press conference got downright defensive about his Hogs' performance in Houston, not in their defense, but attacking their lack of defense and lack of understanding that what happened on the neutral floor against the Connecticut Huskies doesn't necessarily translate against the Houston Cougars in Houston.
"Truth to be had, they are not as good as they think they are," Anderson said. "I thought we got a hangover from the Connecticut game. We started believing the hype and the pat on the back coming back from it, and we're not understanding that when you play in a true road game against a Houston team that's physical they are going to challenge you defensively they are going to get after you."
Houston hit Arkansas with a game-opening 11-0 run from which the Hogs never recovered.
"We didn't get off to a good start, and that's not a good sign on the road," Anderson said. "So it's humbling from the standpoint that you've got to play with that urgency right from the start, no matter where you play, whether it be at home, on the road or neutral site."
And particularly for his style that relies on a tempo-setting pressure defense, Anderson says his teams must play defense which they didn't at Houston.
"We've got to get more defense involved in our game," Anderson said. "We are trying to outscore people, and I always say we are going to hang our hats on our defense. We've got to get defensive minded, so there might be some shakeups in the lineup."
Anderson did like that his Hogs responded from their loss to North Carolina by annihilating Connecticut. And having their first home game tonight since Nov. 17 should help.
But the coach warns that the Mountain West Conference Rams, coached by veteran former Iowa State and Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy, are not to be taken lightly coming off Saturday's 72-63 over previously undefeated instate rival Colorado of the Pac-12.
"They beat a good Colorado team," Anderson said. "They played Florida State early in the year and played with them for about 35 minutes. They were right there with them."
Eustachy's Rams seek a slower tempo than Anderson prefers but still have four averaging double-scoring figures paced by the 15.9 of guard Nixon Prentiss.
Colorado State sophomore reserve forward Lorenzo "Doobie" Jenkins was a scholarship Razorbacks freshman in 2015-2016 serving mainly as a practice player, logging just one game played before transferring and redshirting in 2016-2017 at Colorado State.
Jenkins averages 13.4 minutes playing every Rams game this season.
"I'm sure he's going to be a charged up guy ready to play," Anderson said. "He's doing a good job for Larry Eustachy out there. He's probably got this one circled on the calendar in terms of having a chance to come back and play at a place where he practiced each and every day."
Player Pts. Rebs.
F-Adrio Bailey 6-5 sophomore 7.4 4.4
F-Trey Thompson 6-9 senior 2.9 4.4
G-Anton Beard 6-0 senior 12.3 2.7
G-Daryl Macon 6-3 senior 15.4 2.7
G-Jaylen Barford 6-3 senior 19.7 3.1
Colorado State (4-4)
F-Bob Che 6-7 senior 12.6 9.3
F-Deion James 6-8 junior 10.4 4.9
C-Nico Carvacho 6-11 sophomore 7.0 2.1
G-J.D. Paige 6-3 junior 11.4 3.6
G-Prentiss Nixon 6-2 junior 15.9 4.1Sports on 12/05/2017
Print Headline: Anderson rants on Hogs' lack of defense