FAYETTEVILLE -- In their final midweek nonconference tuneups before commencing conference play this weekend, one Arkansas Razorback basketball team craves maintaining its holiday spirit while the other hopes for momentum to end the calendar year.
Coach Mike Anderson's men's squad is 9-2 and coming off four straight lopsided wins since falling to Houston on Dec. 2. The Razorbacks host California State-Bakersfield (7-7) at 7 p.m. today at Bud Walton Arena.
It's Arkansas' first game since steamrolling Oral Roberts 104-69 on Dec. 20 at home. The Razorbacks open SEC play on Saturday against Tennessee (9-2), which topped Wake Forest 79-60 in its last outing.
First-year Arkansas women's coach Mike Neighbors' squad is 8-4, but had a three-game winning streak snapped ignominiously in an 89-43 shellacking at Arizona State on Dec. 21. They host Grambling State (3-7) at 7 p.m. Thursday and open their SEC slate at 2 p.m. Sunday against Ole Miss at Bud Walton Arena.
Neighbors' rebuilding Razorbacks reassembled Tuesday night for practice after a four-day Christmas break.
While Neighbors told them not to bring the shellacking home with them for Christmas, he did stress lessons needed to be learned from Tempe, Ariz.
Lessons learned seemed to be the case for Anderson's unit after getting embarrassed at Houston that recent opponents took note.
Four games later and that Houston game still was an Arkansas impetus, Oral Roberts Coach Paul Mills said.
"I think a game like Houston serves as a wakeup call sometimes," Mills said. "Coach Anderson has those guys' ears on account of the Houston situation. They're going to be really good and compete well in the SEC."
Of course coming off Christmas break and a four-game winning streak, might Anderson's Razorbacks be suspect to looking past California State-Bakersfield tonight with Tennessee and the SEC looming Saturday at high noon?
"This team has been pretty good for the most part of staying in today," Anderson said Tuesday when the team reassembled Saturday after a three-day Christmas break. "Like today's practice we want to get better and stay into the now. Cal State-Bakersfield is a team that we have got to worry about. Tennessee, that's going to come once you get into the conference race. But the most important game is this game coming up."
Coming off the tumult in Arizona, the Razorback women shouldn't seem likely to look past Grambling State on Thursday night.
Ditto for the Ole Miss women in their final nonconference game before the SEC opener.
Though 9-3, Ole Miss also just took its lumps out west. The Rebels lost at No. 9 Oregon 90-46 on Dec. 17, then Portland State routed the Rebels 94-79 on Dec. 20 in Oregon.
Ole Miss plays its last nonconference tuneup Thursday night against Texas Southern in Oxford, Miss.
Sports on 12/27/2017
Print Headline: Final hoops tuneups key for UA men, women