Razorbacks report:

Hogs, Butler have been successful in openers

By: Bob Holt
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson speaks to reporters during a news conference Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson speaks to reporters during a news conference Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson is used to winning his first game in the NCAA Tournament. So are the Butler Bulldogs.

Something has to give when the Razorbacks play the Bulldogs on Friday in Detroit in a first-round East Regional game.

Anderson is 6-2 in NCAA Tournament openers, including 2-1 at Alabama Birmingham, 2-1 at Missouri and 2-0 at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Butler is 10-1 in its last 11 NCAA Tournament openers going back to 2001, including victories the last three years over Texas in 2015, Texas Tech in 2016 and Winthrop in 2017.

The only opening loss for the Bulldogs 11 games since 2001 was to LSU 75-71 in 2009.

Not half bad

Arkansas has won 40 consecutive games under Coach Mike Anderson in which it led at halftime, including 20 this season.

"When you go in [leading] at halftime, you've just confident that you're going to come out the same way you did in the first half, or even better," Razorbacks senior guard Daryl Macon said. "One thing he always tells us is the game is not 20 minutes, it's 40 minutes.

"So when he says that, a thing kind of clicks in our head that we've got to come out and play a lot harder than what we did in the first half if we want to win."

Macon said Anderson's intensity in the locker room at halftime also fuels the Razorbacks.

"He's got a quick temper behind the scenes," Macon said. "That kind of gets us going in the second half."

Arkansas also has won three games in which it trailed this season: 95-93 in overtime against Tennessee; 80-77 in double overtime at Georgia; and 66-65 over Oklahoma State.

The Razorbacks trailed Tennessee 38-31 at halftime, at Georgia 33-28 and against Oklahoma State 40-32.

The last time Arkansas lost after leading at halftime was Feb. 13, 2016, at Ole Miss when the Rebels won 76-60 after trailing 37-35.

Hogs played at Butler

Remember that big arena in the movie Hoosiers where Hickory wins the Indiana state high school championship?

That's Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and home to the Butler Bulldogs since it was built in 1928.

Arkansas played the Bulldogs there on Jan. 2, 1931, when it was known as Butler Fieldhouse.

The Bulldogs beat the Razorbacks 37-21.

The facility's name was changed to Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1966 in honor of Tony Hinkle, who coached basketball, baseball and football at Butler between 1921 and 1970 and also served as athletic director

No. 10 again

This is the second time Butler has been a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and Arkansas is hoping the outcome is different for the Bulldogs.

Butler was a No. 10 seed in 2001 when the Bulldogs beat No. 7 seed Wake Forest 79-63.

Bulldogs Coach LaVall Jordan was a starting senior guard for Butler's 2001 team and had 15 points and seven rebounds against Wake Forest.

After beating the Demon Deacons, Butler lost its second-round game to No. 2 seed Arizona 73-52.

Sports on 03/14/2018


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