Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Hoops practice begins Saturday
Alandise Harris dribbles the ball during Primetime at the Palace last November.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas will begin its preseason basketball practices on Saturday.
The practices are beginning a little earlier this year after a new NCAA rule allows teams to begin drills 42 days before their first game instead of 30 days prior. The Razorbacks will open the 2013-14 season on Nov. 8 against SIU-Edwardsville.
Arkansas is expected to be able to use Bud Walton Arena for the practices after the arena floor was damaged by a flood last weekend. The team, which doesn't have a practice facility, has utilized the on-campus HPER Building and Barnhill Arena for individual workouts since the flood.
The Razorbacks will not host an opening practice for the fans this year. The event, known most recently as "Primetime at the Palace" and previously "Midnight Madness", has been poorly attended in recent years.
Arkansas finished last season 19-13, missing the postseason for the fifth consecutive year. The Razorbacks lost leading scorers BJ Young and Marshawn Powell from last year's team, but add a highly-regarded signing class including McDonald's All-American forward Bobby Portis from Little Rock.
Third-year Arkansas coach Mike Anderson is scheduled to host his first preseason news conference on Wednesday.