2007 Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball Preview
The Arkansas Razorbacks (21- 14 overall, 7- 9 SEC West) are not the best team in the SEC, but they are the best one in the SEC West. Last season, the Razorbacks finished third in their division and then dropped their first game in the NCAA tournament 77- 60 to USC. This season coach John Pelphrey (80- 67 overall in five years) replaces former Arkansas headman Stan Heath. In five years under Heath, the Razorbacks managed to recruit some fine talent and won more games than they had in the past, but they did little else. It’s hoped that Palphrey can get the Hogs to the next level of competition.
Last year’s stats ran from mediocre to poor as the Razorbacks finished tenth in scoring (71.1 PPG) and turnovers (15.2 TPG). They were sixth in assists (14.9 APG), seventh in rebounding margin (plus-2.4) and third in scoring defense (66 PPG). The Hogs tied for ninth in three-pointers, hitting them at a rate of 34.6 %.
Junior center Steven Hill (6.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 64.1 FG%), who stands seven-feet tall, is a big and tough defender who averaged 2.8 BPG last season. His “D” in the paint is pure gold. Small forward Sonny Weems (11.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 48.5 FG%) can score, while there’s depth at the power position. Senior Charles Thomas (10.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 44.4 FG%) is a tenacious rebounder who must put more points on the board.
Shooting guard Patrick Beverley (13.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.1 APG, 42.7 FG%) had a great freshman season in 2006- 2007. Beverley has drive, can take it to the hoop, hit threes and rebound. He’s also a fine passer. The point is a question mark. If up-tempo senior Gary Ervin (9.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.8 APG) can control the ball better, the team will have a solid playmaker and and could influence the NCAA point spreads.
The fact is that there’s a lot of talent on this team, and Palphrey looks to be the guy to smooth out their inconsistent play. His plan to get the team into NCAA March Madness and one of our March Madness picks is to play hard, utilizing a press and run style. Palphrey wants to win and chances are so too will these Hogs. The Sweet 16 is not out of the question for the Razorbacks.