Mississippi State’s Ben Howland joined the rest of the league’s coaches on the SEC men’s basketball teleconference on Monday to discuss the Bulldogs recent performances and preview its match-ups this week.
Here is a transcript of Howland’s time on the call…
“We’ve got our hands full. I think Arkansas had a great win in their last outing against Tennessee. They’d been playing really well having just defeated Kentucky.
“So it’s a tough match-up from a standpoint of they’re very athletic. They play small and are a very good motion basketball team offensively. As everyone knows, they obviously thrive on pressure and really try to get into you defensively, including pressing you. It’s a big challenge for us.”
Arkansas has a lost a lot of tight games on the road, how have you played at home and do you think Arkansas might be getting it together to win on the road?
Howland: “In terms of us playing at home, we were really disappointed in our last home loss because we had a seven point lead with five minutes to go. We had an opportunity with seven seconds left to step up and make the front end of a 1-and-1 which would’ve put us in the lead and potentially a two-point lead if we made them both.
“But we really didn’t do a good job of closing out that last home game. We’ve had four home games and we’re 1-3. We won against Ole Miss and lost to Tennessee in a game where it’s a two-point game with two minutes to go. We lost to (Texas) A&M where it was a tie game with one minute to go and it was the same situation with Alabama.
“It’s been tough for us. We have to find a way to get over that hump in those close home games.”
How is I.J. Ready doing and do you expect him to play tomorrow night?
Howland: “I’m not sure. We did not practice yesterday. We did some mobility drills and stuff like that because the guys had to play a lot of minutes because we only had eight guys available to us down at LSU. We got into foul trouble and it really hurt us not to have I.J. to be that extra perimeter player to come in and relieve some pressure off those guys. I thought we got worn down as the game went.
“We’re hopeful he’ll be able to play but I’m not sure. It was a back situation for him. I did not know he wasn’t going to be able to play until literally when we were doing the starting five introductions.”