By Otis Kirk
The University of Arkansas is on spring break this week, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing going on as far as sports is concerned.
The football team is taking the obvious break with a team meeting scheduled for Sunday night. The spring game is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, at 3 p.m.
Arkansas will have eight practices remaining when they come back. Chad Morris talked about using the spring break to the team’s benefit and then what next week looks like from a practice standpoint.
“Just get away from it a little bit, come back and know that we have to finish spring out strong,” Morris said. “We’ll have four practices the next week we get back. We’ll go Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a big scrimmage on Saturday.
“Then obviously the following week being the spring game. I just think it breaks the monotony of it a little bit. I’ve done it several ways and this has been very productive for us in the past.”
Arkansas opens the season on Saturday, Aug. 31, against Portland State in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Calling For Help
Mike Neighbors is an outstanding coach and has worked miracles in his second season back at Arkansas.
The girls finished the regular season 20-14 including advancing to the finals of the SEC Tournament. Among the wins was a road victory on Monday, Jan. 21, at Tennessee. The Razorbacks won 80-79, but it was the Lady Vols that got the NCAA Tournament bid.
Arkansas will now host Houston in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena. Neighbors is asking the fans to help.
Houston enters the tournament with a record of 15-15 and enters the tournament on a four-game losing skid. They are actually a decent road team with a record of 9-7 on opposing courts. That compares to 6-7 at home and 0-1 at neutral site.
They lost their last three regular season games and then fell to USF 72-55 in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. That was their second loss to USF in four games. They also lost to UConn and UCF to end the regular season. UConn, a No. 2 season in the NCAA Tournament, beat them 83-61 in Storrs.
Mike Anderson and his team minus Daniel Gafford went on the road in the first round of the NIT and beat Rhode Island.
Many don’t seem to be interested in the NIT, but it is a tournament that can benefit a team with younger players. The Hogs have no seniors on the squad so it is an obvious benefit to them to get additional games.
Reggie Chaney got a career-high 14 points and blocked seven, another career high. He started in place of Gafford. Gabe Osabuohien scored 11 points and tied a career-high with eight rebounds to lead Arkansas to an 84-72 victory over Providence. The Friars were a four-seed while the Hogs were the five-seed.
Chaney, Osabuohien, Adrio Bailey and Ethan Henderson combined to score 36 points and pull down 20 rebounds. Henderson hasn’t played much this season, but allowed Chaney to get some rest at times on Tuesday. For the game, Henderson finished with six points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. Entering the game, Henderson had five points and six rebounds in 28 minutes.
Mason Jones led the Razorbacks with 18 points, making 5-of-8 from the field (4-of-6 from 3-point range) while having four assists and four rebounds. Isaiah Joe added 12 points.
Arkansas will now go on the road again to face Indiana (18-15) on Saturday. They beat the Hoosiers 73-72 on Sunday, Nov. 18, in Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas (18-15) will try to continue its strong play against a more athletic Indiana squad than Providence offered up. The Hogs were noticeably quicker than the Friars.
The Hoosiers beat Saint Francis 89-72 on Tuesday night. They are hard to beat in Bloomington as they enter the game 14-5 at home. There were 3-9 away and 1-1 on neutral courts.
They Beat Texas
Arkansas and coach Dave Van Horn beat Texas 11-4 on Tuesday night in Austin. That put a smile on the faces of all Arkansas fans.
While the SEC is a tremendous challenge and outstanding conference, it just seems to mean a lot more to many from Arkansas anytime the Hogs can beat Texas.
The two teams will go at it again tonight in Austin at 6:30 p.m. and once again on the Longhorn Network.
Arkansas (18-2, 3-0) will continue SEC play this weekend when they travel to Tuscaloosa for a three-game series. Van Horn might could run for public office and win in a landslide if he led his team to two wins over the Longhorns and three wins over the Tide. Those are two of the most hated schools in Arkansas by many.
Alabama (18-4, 1-2) will offer up a good challenge since its the first road series in SEC for the Hogs. They swept Missouri at home this past weekend.