Friday, March 28, 2008

Lunch With Bobby Petrino

Yes, I had lunch with Bobby Petrino yesterday. Well, technically, Bobby Petrino had lunch with me... and about 750 other people as well. But, that's beside the point. The point is... well, there really is no point except to pass along my perception of the luncheon after Petrino's 30 minute talk.

Let's just get right down to business, because that's what Petrino is - business. There was no hollerin' or back-slappin' or recruiting high-jinx stories. No rah-rah, woo to the pigs coming from the man. No, sir. That type of stuff is best left to the Dick Trammels of the world. This speech was all "bidness" - it was: here's where we are, here's where we're going, and here's how we're going to get there. It included his "4 P's" - Preparation, Planning, Performance, and Puking (seriously, I don't remember what the fourth P is, but this will be a fine substitute in my opinion).

He spoke highly of his mentor and confidant - his dad, Bobby Petrino Sr.,who was the long-time and winningest head football coach at NAIA Carroll College in Helena, Montana, until 1997. The "Fighting Saints" just won their fifth national title in six years. Senior told him that once he was 21, he was on his own, and still tells him to this day that "you're 3x7, you're on your own."

Of course Petrino spoke of his ultimate goal to bring Arkansas a national championship. He also gave the required coach-speak about recruiting high caliber athletes that not only have a desire to play on Sundays, but also have a desire to get their degree.

Petrino spoke about "ringing the bell" when a player sets a personal best in the weight room or does their best job out on the field. His hope is that they will ring the bell after every game this season showing improvement from the week before. It's all about bringing a team together and getting better.

(We're going to come back and ring that victory bell... like we always wanted to.)

Petrino didn't specifically address the Freddie Fairchild situation, but stated that student athletes getting in trouble is not a matter of "if it will happen," but instead of "when it will," and that is another aspect of being a head coach that you have to prepare for.

He talked fondly of some of his players from Louisville. There was no mention of Atlanta or any discussion about Ryan Mallet's chances of winning his eligibility appeal to play immediately.

It was obvious and has been obvious that Petrino is not going to be the warm and fuzzy, call-the-hogs coach rallying the Razorback faithful at every stop along the way. The man was hired to win football games. Instead, Petrino, to me, is more like an always-calculating, one-step ahead of you, coaching version of Jason Bourne. He speaks well, says all the right things, and seems to have just enough compassion, enthusiasm, and charisma to get by. But make no mistake, Coach Petrino might just blow your head off or crack your skull for a win. Coach Bobby is the most popular coach in the state right now. As head coach of the Razorbacks, Petrino has yet to lose a game, but that will change soon, and so will his popularity. But if the offensive mastermind recruits the right kind of players and wins big, and wins often, then his stock will only continue to go up.

(Why are you trying to beat me? I'm coming for you, Saban, and Tuberville, and Miles, and Fulmer, and you especially, Nutt.)


Spring practice will be open to the public and begins next Thursday, April 3rd, and the Red-White came will be on April 26th as part of RazorFest 2008.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Some Sweet 16 Motivation

Hey, don't worry if you didn't correctly pick all sweet 16 teams. Not many people did, but this little kid, Johnny Gilbert did. You're getting your ass beat by some 12 year old who gets his news from the newspaper and internet - no cable tv. The thing that kills me about this interview is whats-her-face doing the interview (who is this chick? I don't even have a desire to look it up. Somebody else tell me). Anyway, she's grilling him like he's a star witness to a murder or something.

Good luck tonight. For the record (I'm changing the old record), I'm taking:

UCLA over W. KY Jelly
Cheatin' Bob Huggins University over X

Roy Williams' Tears over The Cougs of WSU
The Headbanded Hoodlums over Slick Rick's LVille

The Graceland Tigers over Michy State
Miss Texas over the Lopez Boys of Stanford

Rock Chalk over my old Nova
The Cheese eating white boys over David and his son.

My new Final Four will be:
Rock Chalk
Roy's Boys
Miss Texas

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Horror... The Horror...

Not to go too old school on you, but there is a 1979 Vietnam war movie called “Apocalypse Now” starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, and also features Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper, and Scott Glenn. Anyway, one of Marlon Brando’s famous quotes from this movie is “The horror… the horror…”

Basketball will never be compared with war, but on its’ own level of cultural significance, yesterday’s North Carolina – Arkansas game was pure horror if you were Arkansas (Colonel Kurtz) or an Arkansas fan. The only good thing that came along with yesterday’s utter destruction was the fact that at least we weren’t subject to a heart-wrenching buzzer beater or a game that had us up 17 points in the second half only to choke it away down the stretch (see: Georgetown v. Davidson)

Some general thoughts on the game: Basketball is a game of runs usually where one team will get hot and go on a 8-0 run or a 15-2 run and the other team (if they are any good at all) will have their share of runs as well.

Yesterday in the first half, Arkansas never scored more than 3 points in a row without UNC answering with some points of their own.
In the second half, the Razorbacks never scored more than 6 points before UNC answered, and that was at the end of the game when we closed the gap from 105-71 to 105-77 before losing 108-77.

Couple of things about the broadcast itself: 1)Could Billy Packer have been any more pro-North Carolina and 2) when Roy Williams was out at half-court pointing to the NCAA logo that was causing players to slip and talking to the broadcast crew, he looked stupid. Memo to Roy: take it up with the tournament organizers and host school. Don’t go out to mid-court during a timeout and make a spectacle of yourself. It looked ridiculous. What did he think Billy Packer and Jim Nantz were going to do right at that moment? Packer had already mentioned it several times throughout the two day broadcast.

Sonny Weems finished up fairly strong with 19 points on 8-20 shooting. But, according to Billy Packer, Weems landed on one foot too much on his jump shots causing him to miss much more. I guess Billy hasn’t watched too much Arkansas basketball this season. Probably been too busy drooling over Tyler Handsoffbrough.

Farewell to the Arkansas six seniors. I feel like I hardly knew you at all.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Heads Carolina, Tails Arkansas

It's the #1 baby blue boys from Carolina and the Arkansas Razorbacks Sunday afternoon at 4:20 CST in Raleigh. It's practically a home game for the Heels, and it will sure resemble one I'm sure.

This has the makings of one of those games that could go down in Razorback history. It could be one for the ages. More madness in March.

Picture this: six Razorback seniors much maligned for their up and down play and more so for the disappointments they've had than for any of the big regular season wins. These six seniors plus the gritty soph Patrick Beverley play the best game in recent Razorback memory and screw up everyone's bracket, especially those that had UNC winning the whole thing with a stunning upset over the nation's #1 team.

Roy Williams cries afterwards saying how disappointed he is for his players and CBS pans the crowd of 15,000 UNC fans sitting there with that "I can't believe that just happened" expression on their faces while the small contingent of Razorback fans celebrate with hugs and high fives. You say "pipe dream" and "no way." Maybe, but that's why they play the games, and it's possibilities like these that make the NCAA Tournament the most exciting three weeks in sports.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Here Comes The Son(ny)

It's Always Sonny in Raleigh, baby! Wow, that's two really lame play on words in a row.

Anyway, it doesn't matter, because Sonny Weems looked like the first team All-SEC performer that he is last night against Indiana. Weems missed his first two shots and then made his last 12 to finish with 31 points leading the Hogs to the 86-72 win.

You better get ready, Carolina! We're coming for you. I'm sure you're scared, but the Razorbacks have nothing to lose. The pressure is all on the baby blue. Weems may have to score 40 and Townes may have to get 30, but it's better than another first round loss. I can't believe this is the first Razorback NCAA Tourney win since 1999.

Day Two Picks:

Well, once again my apologies for my crappy 10-16 picks in Day Two, though I did call the San Diego upset.

My cumulative picks on this post: 20-32 with only 13 Sweet 16 picks remaining

That is shred-your-bracket-and-wait-until-next-year picking.

Hope you didn't seriously put any money on anything I said. That would have been stupid. If you did, you may need some sort of intervention. But, if you're looking for a sure bet to make up for all the first round mistakes to get you back even... Razorbacks straight up over UNC Sunday. Take it to the bank! (Preferably one with loose practices)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Day One is Done

I forgot to mention that I was on crack when I made my first day's picks. Sorry about that, because we all know that crack smoking = 10 for 16 in picking NCAA college basketball games along with prison time. Don't worry, though. I'm very confident in my Day 2 picks. I feel a 16 for 16 coming on today. So, if your bookie is blowing up your cell phone, or your whole office is laughing at your picks, just tell them all to stick it and watch today's games.

Oh, yeah!

Go Hogs! Oh, yeah! Snap into a Hoosier!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Ball Is Tipped

And there you are. You're running for your life. You're a shooting star.

If you need some inspiration to get you fired up for Friday night's game against Indiana, why not take a gander back at the glory days...

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Answer Key

You've searched for years and years for a way to make a quick buck, a way to make thousands in minutes, but you just haven't found it... until now. Gambling is fun. Just take out your savings, cash in your 401k and make these picks and you will never have to work again. .100% Guarantee.

The picks:

1st Round

East Region
(1)North Carolina over (16)Mt. Saint Coppin Mary - too much Jordan and too much Stackhouse as UNC wins by 100

(9)Arkansas over (8)Indiana - Nolan Richardson's 40 minutes of Pel are too much for Indiana and Coach Knight. Steve Alford scores 30, but Arkansas still wins when Stefan Welsh dribbles one off of his knee that Lee Mayberry picks up and proceeds to knock down a three at the buzzer for the win.

(5)Notre Dame over (12)George Mason - the big goofy Big East player of the year, the little goofy guard with the funny name, and the dancing leprechaun beat up on poor Georgie.

(4)Washington State over (13)Winthrop - even though WSU starts some girl named Derrick Lowe at guard, I still think they are too good for the Winthrop Lights.

(11)Saint Joe's over (6)Oklahoma - my first first round upset. Saint Joseph and the rest of the saints are not letting this team down. OU stunk it up against Texas, and even Wayman Tisdale coming off the bench is not enough for the Spooners.

(3)Louisville over (14)Boise State - I think this is going to be a lot closer than most people think. Boise State will be running statue of liberty plays and hook and laterals and nailing threes, but in the end Rick Pitino pays the officials too much and they win.

(10)South Alabama over (7)Butler - USA! USA! USA! Coach Pelphrey is pissed as he watches his former team get a big win while he's stuck with Indiana and possibly UNC after that.

(15)American over (2)Tennessee - kidding! just seeing if you're really paying attention. JaJuan Smith makes the mistake of saying that he's glad he's not an American (player) before the game and gets booed throughout the game... by his own fans. He still scores 30 and talks smack to the American coach.

(1)North Carolina over (9)Arkansas - only because Roy Williams cries on the bench and the officials feel sorry for him like they do every game. North Carolina gets all the calls as usual and on the strength of shooting 60 free throws to Arkansas' two, UNC wins by a point.

(5)Notre Dame over (4)Washington State - "Touchdown Jesus" becomes "Three Point Jesus" as the Domers kiss the blarney stone and kiss Washington State goodbye.

(3)Louisville over (11)St. Joe's - Louisville takes care of bizness as Never Nervous Pervis Ellison dominated inside and St. Joe's goes home.

(2)Tennessee over (10)South Alabama - USA goes down to the too talented headband hoodlums from Tennessee. The only Vol I like, Chris Lofton, goes for 50.

(1)North Carolina over (5)Notre Dame - The luck of the Irish runs out. Even Kelly Tripuka can't help here as Psycho T goes psycho on Harangody and UNC moves on.

(2)Tennessee over (3)Louisville - Bruce Pearl breaks out some matching orange slacks to go with his orange blazer. He gets hit with the first ever "Fashion Technical" to start the game, but it doesn't matter as Tennessee runs away from the Ville.

(1)North Carolina over (2)Tennessee - too big, too strong, too baby blue. Put the overall #1 seed in the final four

North Carolina to the Final Four

Midwest Region

(1)Kansas over (16)Portland State - Portland's not a state. How silly. Kansas is. So, Kansas hits about 25 threes and beats the state of Portland.

(9)Kent State over (8)UNLV - in the battle of nicknames, the Golden Flashes take down the Runnin' Rebels. Jerry Tarkanian swallows his towel during the excitement.

(5)Clemson over (12)Villanova - Clemson is big, bad, and ugly, and there is no way that big, bad, and ugly loses to the least of the East, Vanillanova.

(4)Vandy over (13)Siena - isn't Siena a crayon color? if so, they'll be blue after this one as Shan Foster leads the Commodorks to a close win

(6)USC over (11) - "Hold the Mayo" will be the K-State battle cry as Beasley will need to score about 50 for the Wildcats to win. Unfortunately, for K-State, he doesn't and the Trojans bust a cap So-Cal style in K-State.

(3)Wisconsin over (14)Cal St. Fullerton - Wiz-can-sin blinds the Cali boys from Fullerton with their extreme whiteness. The Badgers show America why the Big Ten is so dog-gone fun to watch as they go on an offensive rampage entertaining the pro-Wizcansin crowd scoring a season-high 45 points in their 45-35 win.

(10)Davidson over (7)Gonzaga - Davidson has won about 49 games in a row, so I like their chances against a not-as-good-as-you-think Gonzaga team.

(2)G-Town over (15)UMBC - yes, retrievers like balls (thank you, Justin), but Hoyas eat retrievers as light snacks to help regulate their bowels. These Hoyas led by Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutumbo, and Allen Iverson take down UMBC.

(1)Kansas over (9)Kent State - Rock, Chalk, Jacque... yes, Jacque Vaughn dishes out 20 assists to Brandon Rush and Greg Ostertag and the Jayhawks beat Kent's State.

(5)Clemson over (4)Vandy - Clemson is big and scary. They scare me. I have nightmares sometimes about Clemson players and a small jail cell. I'm in therapy about it. The most overrated 4 seed goes down.

(6)USC over (3)Wisconsin - OJ Mayo and Harold "Baby Jordan" Minor take 40 shots each and Wisconsin takes 40 shots total. USC wins 56-54.

(2)Georgetown over (10)Davidson - G'Town gets 12 blocks from Roy Hibbert. Dell Curry's son hits 7 threes, but Davidson's win streak ends here.

(1)Kansas over (5)Clemson - you don't know how bad I wanted to pick Clemson here, because Kansas chokes somewhere every year. I just couldn't do it, because I don't think Clemson has enough offensive firepower to keep up with Wilt, Darnell Valentine, and Scooter Barry.

(6)USC over (2)Georgetown - yep. USC finally gets it all together as Brian Scalabrine brings the toughness to take down the Hoyas.

(1)Kansas over (6)USC - what am I doing!? KU to the final four. Aww, hell. This bracket is totally jacked up now. Mrs. Robinson, aka: the Kansas Jayhawks have seduced me again.

Kansas to the Final Four

South Region

(1)Memphis over (16)Texas-Arlington - Memphis might score 200 points here. I can't wait. The Memphis managers could start for UTA. Take Memphis and give 120 points.

(8)Mississippi State over (9)Oregon - Bulldogs and Ducks. Going SEC here, baby. Mississippi State is better coached and Oregon stinks.

(12)Temple over (5)Michigan State - Here's your 12-5 "upset." John Chaney threatens to kill Tom Izzo from his seat behind the MSU bench and it totally throws Izzo off his game.

(4)Pitt over (13)ORU - Oral Roberts says that God visited him in a dream and said that ORU will destroy Pitt. Pitt doesn't back down. Jerome Lane is awesome and Pitt wins by 20.

(6)Marquette over (11)Kentucky - I just can't pick the Mildcats in this one even though they will give Marquette a good run, but Adolph Rupp picks up a technical foul down the stretch that costs UK the game.

(3)Stanford over (14)Cornhell - Pac 10 vs. Ivy League - got some smart suckas playin' in this game. Unfortunately for Cornhell, the Stanford players can hoop and you can't.

(10)St. Mary's over (7)Miami, FL - c'mon, I can't ever pick Leonard Hamilton to outcoach anybody, so why would I pick his team in a fairly even matchup talent wise. U of M go home.

(2)Texas over (15)Austin Peay - one last time to hear "Let's Go Peay! Let's Go Peay! Let's Go Peay!" Well, Texas is going to piss all over Peay.

(1)Memphis over (8)Mississippi State - Memphis is too athletic as Derrick Rose and Keith Lee pick Mississippi State apart and roll to the sweet 16

(4)Pitt over (12)Temple - a grinder right here but Pitt's Brandon Knight hits big shots down the stretch and Pitt wins a barnburner 32-31. Bill Cosby is escorted out of the arena for dropping too many "F-Bombs" directed at his own team.

(3)Stanford over (6)Marquette - the Trees of Stanford are all green and in bloom and the smarty pants of the PAC 10 are too good for Dwayne Wade and Marquette. Al McGuire's ghost picks up a "T" for being out of the coach's box. Todd Lichti knocks down four threes for the Trees

(2)Texas over (10)Saint Mary's - Saint Joe's went down in the second round, so Saint Mary must follow suit. DJ Augustin is awesome as usual and the Horns chances are bolstered when Kevin Durant tells Seattle he is going back to college and not playing for the Losersonics anymore

(1)Memphis over (4)Pitt - Penny Hardaway and Little Penny are too tough and too distracting for the Panthers as Sean Miller can't handle Hardaway. Memphis to the elite 8

(2)Texas over (3)Stanford - tough, tough matchup for the Horns, because Stanford is so big, but Adam Keefe still can't guard anyone and Chris Mihm and Damion James dominate for the Horns

(2)Texas over (1)Memphis - I'm going to love the Rose-Augustin matchup to go to the Final Four. This game could go either way, but Texas is more battle tested than Memphis and I think this is the kind of game Texas' Abrams can go off in. 36 pts. for A.J. Abrams

Texas to the Final Four

West Region

(1)UCLA over (16)Mississippi Valley State - hmmm... K-Love may record a 50-40-20 (50 pts., 40 rebounds, 20 assists)

(8)BYU over (9)Texas A&M - the Mormons, behind the greatest center ever, Shawn Bradley, dominate A&M. Gig 'em Cougars.

(5)The Drake over (12)Western Kentucky - everyone loves The Drake. The Drake is good. The Drake doesn't lose to directional schools.

(13)San Diego over (4)UConn - uh oh. Double K has lost his mind. He's taking a bunch of surfer boys over a big bad Big East team. Not happening, right? Maybe not. Got to go out on a limb somewhere.

(6)Purdue over (11)Cheating Baylor - I don't like Bears, especially ones who don't guard anybody. These Baylor Bears don't guard anybody and that's why Purdue wins.

(14)Georgia over (3)Xavier - the West is all messed up after the Bulldogs with some rest take down Xavier and keep their magical season going.

(10)Arizona over (7)West Virginia - Arizona with something to prove gets some big threes from Steve Kerr and Kenny Lofton as they outshoot W.Virginia in the wild, wild, West region

(2)Duke over (15)Belmont - To quote Coach K, "Duke is Duke". Belmont gets blown.

(1)UCLA over (8)BYU - Ty Detmer throws for a couple hundred yards in this game, but Bob McAdoo is too good for the BYU Mormons.

(5)The Drake over (13)San Diego - The Drake is good. The Drake is going to the sweet 16. Gotta love The Drake.

(6)Purdue over (14)Georgia - the miracle run finally ends when Georgia continuously fouls three-point shooters throughout the game because they play dumb at times. Big Dog Glenn Robinson helps the Boilers become the only Big 10 team in the sweet 16.

(2)Duke over (10)Arizona - The Wildcats Chase Budinger spikes a few of Greg Paulus' three pointers back into his face bloodying his nose and making him look better than he does. But with Paulus on the sidelines getting stiches, the Dukies just reload with irritating guards as Wojo, Bobby Hurley, and Chris Collins all play and just annoy the heck out of the Wildcats.

(1)UCLA over (5)The Drake - The Drake opens an early lead only to see Kevin Love and Bill Walton crush them inside. The Missouri Valley champs go down swinging, but UCLA cruises in the end. John Wooden plans his comeback.

(6)Purdue over (2)Duke - Duke is good, but they finally don't shoot the ball very well and Christian Laettner gets ejected for stepping on Brad Miller's ugly head on purpose. Purdue can shoot the rock and defend just enough to take out the Blue Devils right here.

(1)UCLA over (6)Purdue - Darren Collison is awesome and UCLA wins by double digits and move on to San Antonio

UCLA to the Final Four

Final Four:

North Carolina over Kansas - Roy Williams gets momentarily confused as to which team he is coaching and keeps calling plays for both teams. I think the ACC Champs take down the Big 12 Champs right here.

UCLA over Texas - One year A.D. (After Durant), the Horns almost get to the championship game, but everything has been on the Bruins side this season and it happens again.


UCLA over North Carolina - John Wooden comes out of retirement and the school fires Ben Howland so Wooden can add another championship to his legacy. Coach Wooden keeps calling for Lew Alcindor to be more agressive and gets some shot clock violations for running four corners throughout the game but it doesn't matter as UCLA is too good and they take down the Heels.

National Champs: UCLA

There you go - 20,000 words later, you are now, or soon will be a very rich man.

We're Talkin' About Practice!

Yes, spring is in the air and so are footballs across this great country of ours. And, yes, we are talkin' about practice!

In particular, there will be a lot of footballs thrown in the air at USC this spring as former Arkansas Razorback/traitor/redshirt sophomore Mitch Mustain battles junior Mark Sanchez for the starting QB spot. Here is a Q&A session with Mustain from the L.A. Times a few days ago in case you missed it.

Not that I really care too much about what happens to Mustain now that we have Ryan Mallett on campus, but I do occasionally wonder if Mustain will ever get a chance to live up to all the hype. Will he eventually end up winning the starting job there or will he ride the bench behind Sanchez at least the next two years (barring any injury to Sanchez)? Or will he eventually transfer to some small school where he can play immediately? I say he ends up starring at Montana State beginning in 2009 after another year of riding the bench as Sanchez leads the Trojans into national championship contention. Here is the 2008 USC Spring prospectus for anyone who gives a rip.

Meanwhile, here is Mustain practicing his ninja skills which he feels will help make him a better QB...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Arkansas Takes On The Hoosier Daddies

The Razorbacks are headed east to Raleigh, North Carolina for a Friday showdown with the Indiana Hoosiers.

IU has had their share of scandal and distractions throughout the season as Coach Kelvin Sampson was forced out a few weeks back after NCAA violations. Indiana was beaten in the first round of the Big 10 Tourney when Minnesota scored on an unbelievable shot at the buzzer. The Hoosiers are a jeckyll and hyde team much like Arkansas. Indiana is led by freshman stud Eric Gordon - a big 6'4" guard that will give us some matchup problems because of his size (just think better shooting versions of guards like Jamont Gordon or Sundiata Gaines). The Hoosier inside game is anchored by 6'9" senior DJ White who is averaging a double double. It will be an interesting matchup between two power conference teams.

The winner is rewarded with a matchup against #1 North Carolina.

My preliminary thoughts in general on the NCAA tourney bracket:

I think Arkansas' loss to Georgia cost them a seven, maybe a six seed. And, frankly, I would much rather have a 10 or 11 seed instead of the 8 or 9, because those seeds get punished with a number 1 seed matchup if they win.

Vandy as a 4 seed? Ridiculous. Vandy is a solid team, but they are not one of the top 16 teams in the country right now. I think 5 seeds Notre Dame and Michigan State are better and deserved a 4 seed over Vandy. I even think 6 seeded USC and Marquette are probably better teams, but their resumes didn't earn them a higher seed. I just don't see Vandy, as a team Arkansas has beaten twice this season, as four seeds higher than Arkansas. Once again though, Arkansas losing twice this year to Georgia (including today) did them no favors.

Love the USC - Kansas State first round game. Mayo and Beasley squaring off in the Midwest region.

I think the toughest region is the South with Memphis, Texas, Stanford, and Pitt as the top four seeds there. Throw in Michigan State and Marquette there and that's a tough road for Memphis.

The easiest region I think is the West with UCLA, Duke, Xavier, and UConn as the top four seeds there. I think UCLA cruises to San Antonio.

I'll have a Hog Tale Bracket done sometime in the next day or two, so you all can copy off of it and win your respective pools. Just consider it a free bonus for being a loyal reader.

The Shot

Look at the form, the concentration! Was there ever any doubt that this shot was going in?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hey JaJuan Smith - How Does That Taste!

I'll answer that for you JaJuan - bad... that's how that loss tastes... bad.

Look, I don't mind admitting that I was lazy today and pretty much watched wall to wall basketball (with the exception of one episode of Cold Case and part of a repeat of America's Best Dance Crew - love those Jabba WockeeZ), and what a damn good day it was to do that.

Where to start? Of course, this being The Hog Tale, the obvious choice is with one of the greatest Arkansas basketball games in recent history. Lead changes, foul troubles, nasty dunks, big shots, smack talk, and a turnaround fadeaway jumper by a seven footer with limited offensive skills (and I use the word "limited" very loosely) with 5 seconds left were all a part of this incredible 92-91 Razorback win.

Steven Hill? Are you serious? His only basket of the game and it was the winner. Besides going down in history as one of the best shot blockers in Razorback history, the big lefty with no visible facial expressions will live on in history with the shot that rocked #4 Tennessee and put them out of the SEC Tourney.

(Hello, my name is JaJuan Smith and I am a smack-talking thug that got his ass beat today)

In case you didn't catch my subtle distaste or my reason for pissing on JuJuan Smith, well you must not have watched the first half of the game.

Smith looked like a smack-talking fool as he jawed and even stared down Coach Pelphrey after hitting a 22 footer with a hand in his face. Now, I'm all for a little smack talk and heated intensity between players, but when you start talking smack to the opposing head coach you have officially crossed the line from fiery competitor to a-hole.

JaJuan was awesome in the first half (14pts.), but spent some bench time in the second half trying to get rid of cramps in his calves which slowed him down, (everyone say ... awwwww) and he only had another four points to finish with 18 total.

Meanwhile, Charles Thomas came up HUGE. Manimal was at his manimalistic best today with 24 points and 10 rebounds and at times seemed to be unstoppable inside which hasn't happened much the second half of the season. With his offense and Darrian Townes' solid play again inside, the Razorbacks were tough again in the paint and dominated the battle of the boards.

You suck, JaJuan!

Patrick Beverley was solid again with 17 points and Stefan Welsh was dead eye from the three point line for the second day in a row. Sonny Weems remains the only worry right now for the Backs, but he had an incredible alley-oop dunk down the stretch and knocked down a crucial 15 footer in the closing minute to get out of his funk. Hopefully, he's due for a big game tomorrow.

(Charles carried the Razorbacks at times, and then carried fans during the post-game celebration over Tennessee)

Have a good trip back to Knoxville, JaJuan.

Hope you and the rest of the headband hoods have a restful day tomorrow as you find out what region you'll be the number two seed in. But, hey, don't take my animosity personal... I'll be cheering for the SEC come next weekend... unless of course you are playing against some team I like better.

Normally, this would have been the story of the SEC Tourney, but Georgia not only won today - they won twice. Due to the storm that postponed last night's Kentucky - Georgia game, the two teams tipped off around noon today and a little white boy freshman from Georgia named Swansey hit a three pointer in overtime at the buzzer to help beat Kentucky.

(It's a Swansey Swish! The shot that shot down the Kentucky Mildcats)

The Bulldogs then turned around and beat Mississippi State in another thriller in the night game after the Arkansas-Tennessee game. In what has to be some sort of modern day record, Georgia's Sundiata Gaines fouled out of both games making each close win even that more remarkable.

So, now Georgia faces Arkansas for the SEC Championship tomorrow. Georgia beat Arkansas earlier this year in their only meeting at Georgia.

We had three great games today from the SEC Tourney, so you know what that means: a huge letdown tomorrow afternoon in the championship game. Arkansas (22-10) won three games last year to get to the championship where they were then pummeled by the national champion Gators. I think we will see a similar scenario tomorrow where Georgia (16-16) runs out of steam and Arkansas takes home the crown.

The WhACk final...

Usually I wouldn't waste my breath on something so insignificant as the WAC conference, but after the great SEC action had subsided, I was lucky enough to take in the end of the WAC Championship where Boise State nearly gave the game away... twice, before winning in triple overtime over New Mexico State.

Regardless of how the rest of the championship games play out tomorrow, I will always remember this lazy Saturday that produced three SEC classics and one WAC triple OT thriller.

I like you less now that I did before I started this post, JaJuan. See ya next season in Bud Walton, punk.

(I'm sure the Jabbawockeez will be calling the Hogs tomorrow afternoon.)


Are you kidding me!?

Here's a photo of Steven committing one of his four fouls before hitting a turnaround fade away jumper with five seconds left to lift the Hogs to a one point win over Tennessee. More on this game later when I calm down and I make sure that I saw what I think I just saw!

Strange Happenings at the SEC Tourney

The Georgia Dome took a hit Friday night from some damaging winds postponing the Georgia - Kentucky game.

As expected, Tennessee won (though it took a Chris Lofton three pointer with time winding down to secure the win), and Mississippi State escaped when Mykal Riley's three pointer at the buzzer in OT went in and out as the Bulldogs held on for a two point win over the Tide in a game delayed over one hour due to the weather.

The Hogs played outstanding without any production from Sonny Weems and dominated inside against Vandy in their six point win and face Tennessee today.

The SEC Tourney has been moved to Georgia Tech's facility now where the Georgia-Kentucky game is being played first (11am CST tipoff), followed by Arkansas-Tennessee, and then tonight the Georgia-Kentucky winner will have to play again against Mississippi State.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Razorbacks and Vandy today at 3:15! (Update: Sorry, 2:15 CST)
(By the way, sweet photo over at Razorback Expats today showing U.S. Reed's memorable half court shot from 1981 that beat Louisville and put the Hogs into the Sweet 16.)

Well, we saw some interesting twists yesterday. I thought LSU would win. They didn't. I picked Vandy and they won. I took Alabama and they won (see my preview below if you don't believe me). But, what I really didn't see happening was Ole Miss going down in flames to Georgia. In case some of you missed the end, Georgia's Dave Bliss banked in about a six footer with .4 seconds left in overtime for the win.

Georgia nearly puked on themselves twice. Once at the end of regulation when Ole Miss' David Huertas was fouled shooting a three pointer and made all three free throws to send the game into OT.

Then, in the second OT, Ole Miss' Chris Warren was fouled shooting a three pointer and hit all three to tie the game with about 5.5 seconds remaining.

(Memo to "Coach" Dennis Felton - how about talking to your guards about staying on the floor and putting a hand in the face instead of trying to block a shot. Last I checked (this morning), Humphrey and Butler (the two foulers that led to Ole Miss having a chance to win) had a combined five blocked shots on the year. It's called coaching, Dennis. Check into it.)

Unfortunately for Ole Miss, after those three free throws, no one stopped Corey Butler as the Georgia guard raced the length of the floor before dishing to Bliss for the wide open shot that Bliss banked in to give Georgia the win.

Barring a 30 point blowout loss to Vandy today (or an improbable run by the Tide), it looks like the SEC will get 5 teams in with Ole Miss and Florida's chances going up in smoke.

(Did someone say up in smoke, man?)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SEC Tourney Time

The 2008 SEC Tourney is upon us and what would it be without a comprehensive breakdown as only The Hog Tale can deliver. Before we get to that, congrats go to Sonny Weems and Steven Hill as Arkansas' only All-SEC performers. Weems was named 1st team All-SEC the other day and it was much deserved. Steven Hill was named to the SEC All-Defensive team, but the Defensive player of the year went to Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado, a shot-blocking machine.

Now, onto the SEC Tournament...

The first day playaz (aka: the losers)

USC vs. LSU 1pm Thursday
Ummm... bore and ing. Who cares. I'm flipping a two sided coin and going with LSU.

Auburn vs. Vandy 3:15 Thursday
Vandy is the only legit team in the first day of play. Anytime you have Shan Foster on your side, you have a chance. I say Vandy pummels Auburn like Ed Norton pummels himself in Fight Club.

Alabama vs. Florida 7:30 Thursday
Florida's slim slim chances ride on them at least advancing past Alabama, but I'm not so sure the Gators are all that much better than an Alabama team that's coming off a big win over Vandy. In honor of Uncle Rico, I'm going with Bama.

Georgia vs. Ole Miss 9:45 Thursday
Ole Miss' fading NCAA hopes ride on them making a run to the SEC finals I think. As Big Daddy Kane used to do back in the day, Ole Miss gets the job done against Georgia.

Day 2:
Tennessee vs. LSU 1pm Friday
LSU wins. That's my brain on crack. Tennessee stomps the Tiggers.

Arkansas vs. Vandy 3:15 Friday
I hope Vandy is hung over from Thursday's game and they aren't ready because I hate this rematch that comes just two weeks after a hard fought win at home by the Hogs. Both teams are in the NCAA tourney, but the Hogs would solidify a spot for sure with a win here, so in desperation mode, the Hogs pull out another close one and Vandy's super frosh, A.J. Ogilvy tests positive for steroids after the game.

Mississippi State vs. Alabama 7:30 Friday
Watch this ... Alabama becomes the potential bubble popper of the SEC Conference as Hendrix goes for 20 and 15 and Mykel Riley continues his amazing shooting. Bama in the biggest upset of the tourney takes down the Bulldogs. Jamont Gordon pulls a Sprewell and starts choking coach Rick Stansbury for doing such a crappy job.

(If we lose I will eat your children, Rick Stansbury!)

Kentucky vs. Ole Miss 9:45 Friday
I could give a crap about this game, but it's interesting because currently Kentucky is in on the strength of their 12 conference wins and Ole Miss is out despite their 21 wins (22 after Georgia). I think Ole Miss wins this one with strong inside play that Kentucky can't counter since Patterson is done for the year. The Sea of Blue will be on pins and needles selection Sunday, because I say Ole Miss wins number 23 right here.

Day 3
Tennessee vs. Arkansas Saturday 1pm
Arkansas, with something to prove, plays a strong game and catches Tennessee on an off-night... but... I'm not going to jinx the Hogs here (because I know they're going to win), so let's say the refs screw over Arkansas and Tennessee escapes with a win due to horrendous officiating, caused mainly by Bruce Pearl's blinding orange jacket.

Ole Miss vs. Alabama 3:15 Saturday
Two teams with strong inside games battle each other down to the wire, but Bama's chances go up in flames when Gottfried gets Tee'd up with one minute to go and Bama down by 2. Ole Miss' improbable run continues.

Day 4
Tennessee vs. Ole Miss 1pm Sunday
Bubble teams are sweating this one out. If Ole Miss loses, they still have 24 wins. Do they get in at this point? We'll let the selection committee decide as four days in a row takes its toll on the Rebels and the Vols cut down the SEC Tourney nets and secure a number two seed in some region. Pat Summitt shows up drunk to the game and sticks her tongue in Bruce Pearl's ear during the post game on court interview and proceeds to cut down the net for Bruce telling the national audience that Bruce doesn't know how to do it properly.

Just try to go to sleep with that tongue-thing image in your mind. I dare you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Aaron Effing Murphree

College baseball writers named Aaron Murphree the "Pro-Line Athletic National Hitter of the week." The dude is mashing like some sort of juiced up collegiate version of Mark McGwire. Of course the first baseman/outfielder is not juicing, but in five games last week, Murphree hit 8 home runs and drove in 15 while stealing 3 bases.

Murphree was also named SEC player of the week and Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week. In 12 games this season (Arkansas is 11-1), Murphree has 12 home runs and 28 rbi's. His 12 dingers are halfway to the Arkansas record of 24 set by Ryan Lundquist in 1997.

Arkansas is currently ranked #19 and the Razorbacks are beginning a two-game series at top ranked Arizona State beginning tonight.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's In The Game

D-Mac graces the cover (one of four different covers) for EA Sports' NCAA Football 2009.

Some of the new features for the game thanks to D-Mac will include:

Decapitating opponents with the most vicious stiff arm ever. You will literally be able to take a defender's head off with a properly timed D-Mac stiff-arm (as well as certain coaches like Steve Spurrier or Les Miles or Nick Saban). As a result the D-Mac version of the game will be rated T for Teen as there will be some bloody violence.

EA sports will be stealing an idea from the original Techmo Bowl, and will feature one play where McFadden always breaks one for a touchdown regardless of what defense your opponent chooses. It's going to be a Bo Jackson 2.0 play.

You will be able to start bar brawls during post-game celebration parties and will have the ability to tatoo your own area code on one of D-Mac's biceps or on his stomach.

The only glitch in the game comes if you put it into Coach mode and let the computer coach Houston Nutt call the plays for you.

Otherwise, with D-Mac and Felix Jones, you can pretty much run the table to a fictional national championship like you always wanted to.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kick It!

Coach Pelphrey went old school, circa 1987 Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville, because somewhere in his head he heard the first two words of the 21 year old Beastie Boys hit "Fight For Your Right (To Party)," and he complied by kicking the Razorback logo located on the front of the scorer's table and making a nice big hole (photo below courtesy of the Arkansas Dem Gazzette).

"I was hearing voices," said Pelphrey, "It wasn't the Beasties, it sounded more like Billy Gillespie or maybe Bruce Pearl's irritating vocals... I'm not sure. All I know is that the voice was coming from behind that Razorback logo and so I kicked it and the voices went away. Let me put the rumors to rest right now that I was somehow envisioning Gary Ervin's face when I did that. I was not."

Pelphrey had just witnessed some lazy defensive transition by his team that led to two Auburn free throws that cut the Arkansas lead to 13-11 early in the game. The Hogs promptly went on a 32-12 run to effectively put away Auburn.

The Hogs led by 19 at the half and Auburn never got any closer than 11 the rest of the way as Arkansas gets win number 20 and finishes with a 9-7 conference record. Even though it was senior day, it was sophomore Patrick Beverley who was the man as he went for a game high 27.

The Razorbacks get a first round bye in the SEC Tourney for finishing second in the West, and will most likely get Vanderbilt in the quarter-finals, which is not a matchup I wanted. I was hoping Vandy would have won yesterday and Kentucky would have lost today, but that didn't happen, so now Vandy is the 3 seed in the East instead of Kentucky.

How the seniors fared in their final game at Bud Walton Arena:

Darian Townes - 12 pts., 14 rbs.
Vincent Hunter - 7 pts., 4 rbs.
Gary Ervin - 2 pts., 7 assists
Sonny Weems - 7 pts., 5 rbs.
Steven Hill - 4 pts., 3 rbs., 3 blks.
Charles Thomas - 10 pts., 2 rbs.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Farewell Seniors

Arkansas 19-10 (8-7) vs. Auburn 14-14 (4-11)
Tipoff: Saturday, 5 pm from Bud Walton Arena
TV: ESPN Classic

Well, I just want to wish a fond fare thee well to seniors Steven Hill, Charles Thomas, Vincent Hunter, Sonny Weems, Darian Townes, and Gary Ervin as they get set to play their final game inside Bud Walton Arena.

I would like to say that this has been a fun, memorable, unforgettable bunch of seniors who reached their fullest potential and even over-achieved. I'd like to say this group won the SEC West division and a league tournament championship and made a sweet 16 appearance or two along the way. But alas, I am not able to say anything of the sort, but the good thing for these seniors is that they have a minimum of three games left and a potential to play five or six more games in all honesty. There is still time to leave a mark on the University of Arkansas basketball other than being the most frustrating group of seniors for a fan to ever watch.

Auburn is step one. Step two would be a win or two in the SEC tourney leading to step three, a NCAA Tourney birth. It appears the Hogs will get either Kentucky or Vandy in their first SEC tourney matchup (Alabama or Auburn would be the other possibilities).

The Hogs are still "on the bubble" according to most sources. Go here for's "Bubble Watch".

In my final prediction for these seniors at home, I say they go out in a blaze of glory and utterly pound Auburn by four touchdowns. Giddyup!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Ole Miss 81 Arkansas 72

What more can I say other than the loss to Ole Miss drops Arkansas to 19-10 overall and 8-7 in conference, and they are on the verge of not making the NCAA tourney with six experienced, talented seniors.

The supposedly deepest and most talented front line in the SEC got out-rebounded... again. Ole Miss won the war on the glass and out hustled the Hogs most of the night. Patrick Beverley was outstanding for the second game in a row and so was Darrian Townes on the offensive end, but it wasn't enough, as no one really had an answer for Ole Miss' Dwayne Curtis who went for 23 and 11 against our front line.

Ole Miss made 18 free throws while the Hogs attempted only 11 all night which is either a lack of agressiveness or horribly one-sided officiating. If you saw the game, (or to be accurate the last three minutes of the first half and the entire second half because of the Ohio St.-Purdue OT game) I'll let you decide.

This season has become a little too Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde-ish for me...

Auburn at home on Saturday afternoon will conclude the Razorbacks' regular season.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hogs Travel To Ole Miss, Pelphrey Locks In On Record

Arkansas 19-9 (8-6) at Hotty Toddy 19-9 (5-9)
Tipoff: Tuesday 8:00 pm CST in Oxford

Not everyone's happy about Pelphrey locking up a 20th win and a school record for most wins by a first year head coach...

Lambert’s Family Cheering Against Pelphrey

Coming just over a month after the New England Patriots failed to capitalize on a perfect season to match the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Arkansas first year basketball coach John Pelphrey has matched a University of Arkansas best with 19 wins and is running into an opposition of his own. The 19 wins tie Eugene Lambert’s long-standing record held since the 1942-43 season when Lambert won 19 while only losing seven.

Lambert's family has been very vocal in their opposition of Pelphrey taking over the record.

Nephew Mercury Lambert has been one of the most vocal of the Lamberts these past few weeks:

"Like a popular saying on my ranch, I believe this Pelphrey guy setting the record stinks like horse*@#& ! This kid gets so many more games than Uncle Eugene did. It's not quite on the same level as Eugene. This record belongs in the Lambert family forever."

Another opponent has been second cousin Don Lambert who has even gone so far as to suggest that Pelphrey have an asterisk next to his name if he does indeed break Eugene’s long-standing record.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have said it,” Don confessed, “But I’m very proud of my second cousin's record. It’s not to take anything away from Coach Pelphrey but look at all these games he got to coach and all these inferior opponents that he beat up on early in the season.”

Larry Little Lambert said that the family can accept that the two end up in a tie for the record but that he "will be disgusted if the record falls to a Kentucky boy with half the basketball knowledge of G-Pa."

So, for now, the Red Bulls and Vodka are on ice at the old Lambert homestead as the family and friends of the legendary Eugene "The Coaching Machine" Lambert anxiously hope Coach Pelphrey fails to get another win this season.

"We toast it up everytime a first year coach fails to reach 20 wins and throw one hell of a party in Eugene's name. It may be a long shot this year," said Don, "And we don't wish any bad things on Coach Pelphrey for years to come, but for the rest of this season, I hope his team mails it in like they did at Alabama last week."

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday News and Notes

The Razorbacks' 19th win of the year ties a record for first year head coach John Pelphrey. The win ties him with the legendary Eugene Lambert (1942-43) for the most wins ever by a first year Razorback head coach. Eugene busted off 78 more wins (1942-49) for his alma mater before leaving the U of A to coach at Memphis (1951-56) and then at Alabama (1956-60).

I present to you (courtesy of the Eugene Lambert overall record chart! You can thank me later.

Arkansas' signee Rotnei Clarke broke the all-time scoring record in the state of Oklahoma on Saturday night as 3A's #1 Verdigris advanced to the state tournament. Clarke, who averages 41.1 ppg, broke the state record that had stood for 19 years held by Maud's Ty Harmon.

The Razorback baseball team only made it six games into the new season before blowing their stack and blowing their undefeated season. Coach Dave Van Horn was ejected as he went nose to nose with the first base linesman and Texas A&M won 15-7. The Hogs bounced back the next day beating The Ohio State University (also known as the 13th best team in the SEC) 8-6 and are now 6-1. The Hogs begin a five game homestand on Tuesday weather-permitting, and right now we're looking at a possibility of four inches of snow tonight.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Vandy Schmandy

Let me be the first to say welcome back, Patrick Beverley!

Beverley's last five games prior to Vandy, he scored a collective 24 points (4.8 ppg). So, when he helped carry the Razorbacks in the second half down the stretch ending with 17 points going five of seven from three-point land it was a long overdue return. P.B. hit three three-pointers in the last four and half minutes to help offset the insanity that was Vandy's Shan Foster as the Hogs held on for a huge 78-73 win over #14 Vanderbilt.

Foster is muther. He's one of those guys, who everytime he shoots, you think it's going in, and that was nearly the case Saturday afternoon. Foster was six of eight from three-point land and finished with 22 on eight of twelve shooting as he became Vandy's all-time leading scorer in a losing effort. Vandy will be a tough team come tourney time because they shoot so well and have a good inside game with the big freshman, A.J. Ogilvy who went for 20 and six.

As has been the case most of the season, Weems was great again as he had a team high 20 points and nailed six straight free throws down the stretch to secure the win (including two for a technical assessed to Vandy's Ross Neltner who called time-out with no timeouts left, seven seconds to go, and Arkansas with the ball up 74-73).

Sonny hit two tough threes in the first half - a step-back three with a hand in his face and an off-balance three that had me shaking my head.
Darrian Townes got his first start of the year and he deserved it (Vincent Hunter also got the start). Townes was the only one who looked like he gave a damn at Alabama last week. I loved his effort the first half and most of the game in general as he is easily the Hogs' most skilled big man. He finished with 13 as did Gary Ervin who was solid in one of his better games of the year as he also had seven assists and only one turnover.

Well, the Razorbacks' play was a complete 180 from Wednesday night's disaster at Alabama. The win secures second place in the SEC West for the Razorbacks and a first round SEC Tourney bye. The Hogs move to 19-9 and 8-6 in conference but very much need to win at Ole Miss on Tuesday and then finish up with a home win over Auburn.

Thy NCAA bubble has yet to bursteth.

Sing us out Barry!

Well you came and you left without winning
yes, we sent you away, oh Vandy
though Shan Foster's shooting had my head spinning
Go the hell back to Nashville, oh Vandy