Hog Calls:

Exciting basketball double-header awaits; Richardson sympathizes with Morris

By: Nate Allen
Published: Saturday, November 17, 2018
Arkansas fans celebrate during the first half of the Razorbacks' 85-67 win against Georgia on March 4, 2017, in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas fans celebrate during the first half of the Razorbacks' 85-67 win against Georgia on March 4, 2017, in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- At this November newbie college basketball stage you would presume an SEC school directional double downer hosting a men's and women's doubleheader.

You know, Southwest Swiss Navy-Utah vs. the men with Mildly Midwestern Tapioca Tech vs. the women.

Not so Sunday afternoon and night for the Arkansas Razorbacks at Walton Arena. Arkansas' two Mikes, Men's Coach Mike Anderson and Women's Coach Mike Neighbors, deliver a double dip worthy of attending or at least catching on national TV.

The Sunday punch starts at 2:30 on ESPN with Anderson's 1-1 men hosting the tradition rich Big Ten Indiana Hoosiers, 3-0 off Wednesday's 96-73 obliteration of nationally No. 24 Marquette.

At 7 p.m. on the SEC Network Neighbors' 2-0 women, fresh off Wednesday night's 66-65 buzzer beater at Texas-Arlington, host the nationally No. 24 Pac 12 power Arizona State Sun Devils.

"It's a great day for basketball especially for this time of year," Anderson said. "It's a great matchup when you talk about Arkansas-Indiana and of course the women playing Arizona State. So you're talking about teams that are ranked or highly considered being among the top teams in the country. And for our fans I think what better environment than Bud Walton Arena and having a national audience?"

Neighbors sympathizes with the support staff from parking attendants to maintenance working a long day's journey into night but says all Arkansas basketball benefits from everyone's labors.

"I know it's a strain, but I think the payoff is worth it," Neighbors said. "It's a great day of basketball."

And great for the players that Neighbors and Anderson say pull for each other.

"For them to play under the same roof on the same day is really cool," Neighbors said.

No Arkansas coach ever endured what Hall of Famer Nolan Richardson endured breaking racial coaching barriers for the entire South upon his Arkansas 1985-86 arrival with his daughter dying while replacing Hall of Fame coach Eddie Sutton.

However, the personnel problems that Richardson faced inheriting players not remotely recruited for his system reflect in the mirror what 2-8 Razorbacks Football Coach Chad Morris sees inheriting players recruited for the dissimilar style of previous Coach Bret Bielema.

"It's very difficult," Richardson said. "Especially if you have a coach that's totally opposite from the coach you just had previously."

So what must Morris do?

"I think he can only do what he's trying to do and put together his best players that he has and make something happen," Richardson said. "And it looks like some of the things they did, particularly in the last ballgame (rallying from down 24-3 losing 24-17 to nationally No. 7 LSU). Some things happened. That's good."

Appreciate any progress, but above all appreciate patience that Morris recruits for a better hand while dealing with the hand he's got, Richardson asserts.

"I think it's all about making a play, but we're not a play away," Richardson said. "We're players away. That's a big difference."

Sports on 11/17/2018


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