Earlier this week yours truly was asked if I was interested in a cross-blog interview with The Hoosier Report. The Hoosier Report has done a bang up job on breaking down Friday’s matchup and I encourage everyone to head over there. You might be asking right about now…”Where’s Part 1?”. Well, he’ll be posting the first four questions which you can find HERE! Part 1 contains questions about Kelvin Sampson, Nolan Richardson, Sanctions, IU’s Head Coaching Search and other interesting stuff to get you ready for tomorrow’s game. Below are the second set of questions. The Hoosier Report will be in Italics…
HR: How does the future look for Arkansas. Is Pelphrey recruiting well, and of this year’s moderately successful team, how much production do you lose and how much will be back?
HB:We have six seniors, who all play significant minutes, that will be gone after the season. As far as recruiting goes I’m excited to see point guard Courtney Fortson come in. He was Rivals No. 59 overall and we haven’t had consistent guard play since Nolan was roaming the sidelines. Also, Pelphrey likes a more up tempo style and with the six seniors leaving, and the recruits he’s bringing in, he’ll be able to return to that style. The state really misses Nolan’s “40 minutes of hell” style and hiring Pelphrey was a move back in that direction. Rivals ranks our ’08 class 14th so I think the future looks promising.
HB: I’ve read that for Indiana it all starts with Eric Gordon and Big Ten Player of the Year DJ White. How does Arkansas stop them? Also, who could surprise the Hogs?
HR: Well, as I said above, Gordon isn’t beating anyone but the Hoosiers right now. I’m cutting him some slack because he is playing injured, but he’s been brutal for the last seven games. The Hoosiers have struggled this year against teams with strong interior defenders, and it seems that Arkansas may fit that bill. DJ White’s worst game was against a lanky Connecticut team. The guy who could surprise Arkansas is Jordan Crawford. Crawford is a freshman whose family is well-known to Arkansas fans: Kentucky’s Joe Crawford is his brother. Crawford loves to shoot, and has had some bad games, but he often explodes. Crawford scored 20 against Kentucky in a game that Gordon missed because of injury; 16 in a tough road win against Minnesota; 18 in a double overtime slugfest at Illinois; and a game-saving 21 at Northwestern the day after Sampson’s departure. Also, any production out of the four spot would be a surprise for IU and Arkansas fans alike. Deandre Thomas, Lance Stemler, and Mike White have been so unpredictable that Sampson and Dakich have resorted to giving lots of minutes to Kyle Taber, a walk-on with limited skills but who isn’t prone to turnovers, bad shots, or stupid fouls.
HR: For my final question, it’s prediction time: how will the Indiana-Arkansas game play out, and who is winning it all in your bracket?
HB:I think Indiana will still be in their funk and Arkansas’ size inside will prove too much for the Hoosiers. But the Hogs can’t make anything easy on themselves…Arkansas 71- Indiana 69. Now I’ll preface this with the fact that I don’t predetermine my Final Four when I pick my bracket. I tend to look at each game from start to finish and see how the cards fall. I have Tennessee and UCLA in the Final and I picked the Vols in a relatively close game…Tenn 79-UCLA 68
HB: And for my final question I’d like to hear your prediction for Friday’s Game, do either of us have a chance against UNC, and who’ll win it all?
HR: Sadly, I think your prediction is about right. IU probably has the bigger upside, but has shown nothing in recent weeks. Arkansas 66, Indiana 61. As for UNC, I don’t know much about Arkansas, but IU, with scoring options inside and out is capable of beating UNC, although the Tarheels certainly should win. As for the champ, they have burned me many, many times, so I should know better, but I have Kansas winning an all Big 12 final over Texas.
HR: Nice talking to you.
HB: Thanks it’s been fun!
Just as a reminder…Here is part one and thanks again to the Hoosier Report!