Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Razorbacks basketball report:
No break no issue for Hogs
Arkansas guard Anthlon Bell, left, attempts to block a layup by California guard Justin Cobbs (1) as guard Rashad Madden (00) looks on in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Maui Invitational basketball tournament on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
FAYETTEVILLE - The Arkansas Razorbacks aren’t off for spring break, but they could be doing a lot of traveling the next few days to some major vacation spots.
The Razorbacks flew to the San Francisco Bay area Saturday for their second round NIT game against California on Monday night in Berkeley, Calif.
If Arkansas beats California, the Razorbacks will either fly to Dallas for a quarterfinal game at SMU or return home to play LSU.
Another victory would send the Razorbacks to New York for the NIT Final Four.
“That’s all we’ve been talking about all season, is not getting a spring break,” Arkansas junior guard Ky Madden said. “It’s not fun for us to be on spring break.
“We hopefully will continue to play well and continue to win so we won’t have one.”
Arkansas players had been off for spring break the previous five years because the team wasn’t playing in a postseason tournament.
Arkansas is playing in the state of California for the second time in 40 years, and Bill Walton will be at the Razorbacks’ game against California on Monday night just he was when they visited UCLA during the 1973-1974 season.
Walton, a Naismith Hall of Famer who led UCLA to two national championships and won NBA titles with Portland and Boston, was a senior center for the Bruins when they beat the Razorbacks 101-79 at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 30, 1973.
He’ll be the color analyst for ESPN2’s telecast of the Arkansas-California game at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.
Walton, 61, has become known for his colorful commentary, much of which has nothing to do with the game he’s working.
“He’s got the gift of gab, let me put it that way,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “He likes to talk.”
The Razorbacks also played at California-Santa Barbara during the 1973-1974 season, losing 109-80.
Arkansas is 4-6 all-time in games in California.
May need a nap
Arkansas’ scheduled tip off for its game at California on Monday is8 p.m. Pacific team, but it might feel like 10 p.m. to the Hogs, who are accustomed to living on Central time.
The Razorbacks had three 8 p.m. Central starts for SEC games. They lost at Texas A&M 69-53 and won at home against Kentucky 87-85 and South Carolina 71-64. The Kentucky game went overtime and featured 63 fouls and 81 free throws, so it didn’t end until about 11 p.m.
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said he doesn’t see a significant difference in playing a game that likely wouldn’t end until after midnight Central time.
“We’ll be ready to play,” he said.
Good seats available
Arkansas may not have a large crowd to contend with against California. The Bears’ NIT-opening 77-64 victory over Utah Valley on Wednesday night had an announced crowd of 1,862 at Haas Pavilion, which has a capacity of 11,877.
California averaged 8,408 during the regular-season.
If the Razorbacks beat California, they’ll advance to play a team they’ve faced previously this season.
The Arkansas-California winner plays the SMU-LSU winner. The Razorbacks beat the Mustangs 89-78 on Nov. 18 in Walton Arena and split with the Tigers, losing 88-74 on Feb. 1 in Baton Rouge and winning 81-70 on Feb. 15 in Fayetteville.
Monday night’s game will mark the first time Arkansas has played at California, but it will be the second visit for Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson. He was Missouri’s coach during the the 2007-2008 season when the Bears beat the Tigers 86-72 at Haas Pavilion.
Arkansas is 1-2 against California, including Anderson’s 93-66 victory in Columbia, Mo., during the 2008-2009 season and the Bears’ 85-77 victory in the Maui Invitational earlier this season.
Arkansas and California’s only two previous games were in Hawaii. The Razorbacks beat the Bears 74-58 in Honolulu in the Rainbow Classic during the 1986-1987 season.
I know you
California redshirt junior guard Ricky Kreklow, who played for Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson at Missouri, scored 17 points against the Razorbacks in the teams’ first meeting this season.
He made 3 of 7 three-point baskets and 8 of 10 free throws.
Sports, Pages 28 on 03/23/2014