Arkansas has a chance to climb up in the SEC standings with a win at Alabama tonight. It’s always hard to win on the road in conference play especially in front of the home crowd. It is a homecoming for two players, Jacorey Williams and Coty Clarke who both played high school basketball in Alabama, will be playing their first game back home. Plus, Coach Mike Anderson is from Birmingham and his family will be in the stands rooting for the Razorbacks to win. The excitement that these two players have needs to be the adrenaline punch that Arkansas needs to carry throughout the game.
Anderson wants to make sure that they funnel this excitement and energy in the right way. One way to do this is to focus on how they can stop one of the key players for Alabama, Trevor Releford. Releford has been the one consistent player for the Tide this season, just like his brother Travis Releford has at Kansas. Anderson had this to say about Releford: “You’ve got to keep him out of the lane, No. 1.” “He’s a real clever basketball player from the standpoint; I think he’s one of the old-school guys. He’s like a little coach out on the floor, and it just seems like when he’s playing well, they play well.”
For Arkansas to win this game they need to not just concentrate on Releford alone but his counterparts Trevor Lacey, Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper and senior guard Andrew Steele as well. This game will be won in the trenches and if Arkansas plays aggressively on defense they can come out victorious.
The Razorbacks need to find a way to put this homecoming emotion in each dribble, each pass, each shot, each rebound, and each defensive stop they make. If they do so, look for them to go back to Arkansas with a big victory to help them climb back into the SEC race.
Follow John D. Hayden on Twitter: @jdhayden09