Tue February 13, 2024

By Lance Hawley

Sports Razorbacks

Arkansas Hosts Tennessee on Wednesday Night

Arkansas Hoops Razorbacks Basketball
Arkansas Hosts Tennessee on Wednesday Night
By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas will play host to No. 8 Tennessee on Wednesday night with hopes of building a winning streak.

Arkansas (12-11, 3-7) is coming off a 78-75 win over Georgia Saturday in Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks haven't won two games in a row since Dec. 21 when they defeated Abilene Christian following the victory over Lipscomb. The streak reached three with the win over UNC Wilmington, but then SEC play started and the Hogs have struggled. Following Saturday's win it wasn't the Super Bowl that had Eric Musselman's attention.

"It’s great right now, but as soon as I leave you guys we’ve got to get ready for Tennessee," Musselman said. "So I don’t know how great my Saturday night and Sunday will be knowing that we have the sixth-ranked team in the country… But what a great environment I hope it is here playing the sixth-ranked team. They’re a team that can play for a national championship and it’ll be a great challenge coming up on Wednesday. As much as I would like to watch the Super Bowl, I have a feeling I’ll be watching Tennessee most of Sunday."

Tennessee (17-6, 7-3) comes to Fayetteville after suffering a one-sided 85-69 loss on the road at Texas A&M Saturday night. Tramon Mark is Arkansas' leading scorer averaging 17.6 points per game after transferring in from Houston. Mark also is averaging 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and a team leading 1.2 steals each game. He feels the Hogs will be ready for Tennessee.

"We feel good, we feel confident," Mark said. "We’re going to get a game plan going and it’s going to be a battle."

El Ellis stepped up big in the win over Georgia after not playing the previous two games. Ellis had 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and a trio of steals against the Bulldogs. He too is looking forward to the Vols.

"Most definitely going to be a battle," Ellis said. "We’re going to be ready. We’re ready to turn this thing around."

Guard Dalton Knecht leads Tennessee averaging 20.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Forward Jonas Aidoo leads the Vols with 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks each game. Aidoo is also putting in 11.3 points and 1.0 assist each game. Guard Zakai Ziegler enters averaging 11.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals per outing.

Against Georgia, guard Davonte "Devo" Davis played for the first time after missing three games. Davis scored four points, pulled down four boards, dished out three assists and had two rebounds. Davis played 35 minutes and Musselman talked about what he saw in practice that led him to believe the senior could see that much action.

"I think he knew that conditioning, because we had discussed that on Tuesday, about the importance of his conditioning," Musselman said. "I saw him working. We wear those, whatever those jackets are called where you can monitor work load and he really busted his behind this week to play catch-up a little bit from a conditioning standpoint. He did ask to come out tonight, which since I’ve been coaching him, that’s the first time I can ever remember him asking to get a quick blow. But he played really hard. He had some big loose balls and, like I said, he’s a guy that understands all four positions on the floor so we’re able to play him at the 4 tonight and our offense, our sets we could still get into them."

Arkansas and Tennessee will tip at 8 p.m. and televised on ESPN2.

Photos Courtesy of Craven Whitlow CW3 Sports Action