2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Arkansas
Southeastern Conference (22-11, 9-7)
Big Wins: 1/5 at Baylor (85-78), 1/30 Mississippi State (78-58), 3/1 Vanderbilt (78-73)
Bad Losses: 12/22 Appalachian State (67-74), 1/16 South Carolina (66-70), 1/19 at Georgia (69-82)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, First Round loss to USC
Coach: John Pelphrey (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Gary Ervin, Senior, Guard, 9.6 ppg, 3.7 apg
Patrick Beverly, Sophomore, Guard, 12.0 ppg, 2.4 apg, 6.8 rpg
Sonny Weems, Senior, Guard, 14.4 ppg, 2.7 apg, 4.5 rpg
Charles Thomas, Senior, Forward, 9.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Steven Hill, Senior, Center, 4.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg
Stefan Welsh, Sophomore, Guard, 5.4 ppg, 2.2 apg
Vincent Hunter, Senior, Forward, 2.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Darian Townes, Senior , Forward, 11.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Michael Washington, Sophomore, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
The size, depth, experience and talent of the Arkansas frontcourt should have made the Razorbacks a very dangerous team the last two seasons. However, consistency has been a major problem. Darian Townes is the most productive scorer of the group. Townes will usually come off the bench, but he still averages nearly 12 points per game despite only seeing the floor for 22 minute per contest. Workhorse Charles Thomas will usually get the starting nod. The 6-8 senior has a decent outside shot, but his field-goal percentage has suffered when he tries to extend his range a little too far.
Seven-footer Steven Hill is a great shot blocker and can score a few points on occasion. His ability to alter shots on the defensive end is a vital attribute for the Razorbacks. The big guys keep coming with sophomore Michael Washington and senior Vincent Hunter. Washington has worked his way into a crowded frontcourt over the last two seasons and has proven to be a solid rebounder.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The big guys keep the team’s field-goal percentage up, but this is not a great shooting team. Sophomore Patrick Beverly has seen his overall shooting numbers decrease after a great freshman season. The good news is Beverly is usually taking smart shots from beyond the arc and will not force as many three’s as he did last year. Wing Sonny Weems is the team’s leading scorer. He can hit the long ball from the wing, but is much more effective getting to the basket. If the outside shot is not falling for Beverly or Weems, the opposition will have a much easier time clogging the lane and stopping the slashers and the big men.
Who To Watch:
Gary Ervin is a lightning quick point guard. His 9.6 points and 3.7 assists per game might be a little disappointing, but Ervin will still create for his teammates and has the ability to take over a game. Ervin is also responsible for keeping the Arkansas offense moving at a fast pace, but still under control. At times, the Razorbacks have been anything but under control and they will not be able to afford a string of poor decisions and bad passes in March.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.3 (87th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.0 (106, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (61, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (56, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (214, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.5 (190, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.3 (228, 7)
Rebound Margin: 4.1 (46, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (85, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.6 (244, 11)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to North Carolina
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