North Carolina (33-2) vs. Arkansas (23-11)
Raleigh, N.C. - RBC Center
5:20 p.m., CBS
“They are unbelievable. Phenomenal coach. As storied a tradition as anybody in college basketball. A talent level that runs through there that just – certain class, from top to bottom. Tremendous respect for the players they have now, although I haven’t had a chance to study them in depth, but I will by game time. They play the game the right way. They don’t turn it over a lot. They share the ball. Tremendous depth. As fast as anybody will play, make or miss… It’s Carolina.” – Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey
Season to Date: No. 9 seed Arkansas enters Sunday’s NCAA Tournament second round game No. 1 seed North Carolina with a 23-11 record. After starting the season by winning 13 of their first 16 games, the Razorbacks have posted a 10-8 mark since a Jan. 16 loss to South Carolina (70-66). Arkansas has not faired well away from Fayetteville, winning only six of 18 games on the road or at neutral sites. Pelphrey’s squad is, however, 6-1 this season against ranked opponents.
NCAA Tournament Action: Arkansas upended No. 8 seed Indiana, 86-72, in first round action at the RBC Center. Senior wing Sonny Weems scored a career-high 31 points on 12-of-14 shooting, including connecting on all eight of his attempts in the second half. Fellow classmate Darian Townes added 17 points and 12 rebounds, as the Razorbacks shot 54.2 percent from the floor while holding the Hoosiers to just 43.8 percent on the night.
Senior Success: The Razorbacks’ roster includes six veterans playing in their final season – Weems, Townes, Charles Thomas, Vincent Hunter, Gary Ervin and Steven Hill. They have combined to play in 639 ball games during their careers, while helping Arkansas to three straight 20-win seasons and three straight NCAA Tournament bids.
Odd Fact: Sophomore guard Patrick Beverley was in double figures rebounding six times in SEC play and has led the team in rebounding in 12 of the last 19 games. He is Arkansas’ top rebounder for the season (6.7) and was the leader in SEC play (8.3). Overall, he is 11th in the SEC and was fourth in conference play. Not bad for a guard listed at 6-foot-1.
Bench Scoring: Through 34 games this season, the Razorbacks have scored 2,516 points (74.0) with 899 (26.9) coming off the bench, or 35.7 percent. Arkansas reserves have scored 30 or more points in 15 of 34 games.
Foretelling Stat: Arkansas is 10-0 this season when scoring 80 points or more.
Postseason Awards: Weems was named to the first-team All-SEC team after averaging 14.3 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting. Hill earned distinction as SEC All-Defensive Team member, and then Thomas and Townes earned SEC All-Tournament honors after helping the Razorbacks to the SEC Tournament title game.
Last Meeting: Arkansas defeated North Carolina, 75-68, in the Final Four on Apr. 2, 1995. The Razorbacks held the Tar Heels to their lowest shooting percentage of the season (37.5 percent), including only 25 percent in the second half while enduring a 12:47 stretch without a field goal. All-American Corliss Williamson led the Razorbacks with 21 points.
Series History: Arkansas and North Carolina have split the series, 3-3. All six games have taken place at neutral sites, while three of the contests have occurred in the NCAA Tournament (1990, 1993, 1995).
00 Gary Ervin (6-0, 182, Sr.) – 9.6 ppg, 3.7 apg
21 Patrick Beverley (6-1, 180, So.) – 12.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg
13 Sonny Weems (6-6, 203, Sr.) – 14.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg
33 Vincent Hunter (6-10, 229, Sr.) - 2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
5 Darian Townes (6-10, 243, Sr.) – 11.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg
3 Charles Thomas (6-8, 231, Sr.) - 9.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg
14 Stefan Welsh (6-2, 185, So.) – 5.4 ppg
51 Steven Hill (7-0, 245, Sr.) – 4.4 ppg, 3.0 reb
15 Michael Washington (6-10, 224, So.) – 4.4 ppg, 4.0 reb
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