Mike Anderson: Texas A&M will be “physical ballgame”









By: Mark Lane (@therealmarklane)


Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson fielded questions Monday during the Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Teleconference about the Jan. 17 game at Texas A&M, which will be broadcast at 6:00 p.m. on both Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson says Fox Sports 1400 Texarkana and 94.1 FM ESPN Texarkana. Here is the full question-and-answer session below:


CAN YOU GIVE US SOME COMMENTS ON THIS WEEK’S MATCH-UP? — “We go to play against Texas A&M, a team that obviously brings back very talented players, Tyler Davis, DJ Hogg, a team that almost got to the Sweet 16 last year. And, so, it’s a team that has some young, very talented, experienced guys. And they’ve added Robert Williams. So, going into Reed Arena, we haven’t had a whole lot of success. We’re looking forward to going in and hopefully putting together a game of 40 minutes and great defense. It’s going to be a physical ballgame. One of the things we have to do a good job is one the boards. They have some tremendous size. It’s another opportunity obviously. And we know that road games are very, very important in the conference. So, we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”


HOW BIG OF A CONCERN IS A&M’S REBOUNDING AND THEIR SIZE? — “It’s a big, big concern. That’s one of their strengths. They’ve got a guy like Tyler Davis. Robert Williams is a guy that can jump out of the gym. They’ve got that [Tonny Trocha-Morelos] kid as well. So, we’ve got to do a good job of keeping them off the boards, especially at home. We got to keep those guys off and our guards have to be in the trenches getting rebounds as well.”


WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET IT TO YOUR TEMPO? — “They will run when the opportunity presents itself. They’ll run back. And, of course, they would like to bring it down and pound it inside for sure. When you’ve got a big like that with a great pair of hands who can score, it makes sense. But we want to make sure they don’t just slow down. We want to go up tempo. And therefore its’ going to be crucial who enforce that will on which team. But I want us to be a team that’s unpredictable. One of the things we’re going to do is we’re going to bring it to you. And when you go on the road, you have to be able to make your shots. Defensively you’ve got to be solid and make shots and not put your opponents on the free throw line and take care of the basketball. So, those are some of the areas we’re going to be focused on. We want to be up tempo without a doubt.”


WHAT DOES ISAIAH BRISCOE MEAN TO KENTUCKY? — “Isaiah is the guy that kind of holds it together. He’s the most experienced guy they’ve got there, although he is a sophomore. He’s one of those guys that he’s big, he’s strong, he gets to the basket. He passes the basketball. Obviously he’s playing with a lot of confidence with this team. I think he gives that probably leader that they need on that basketball team. Obviously they’re very, very talented. They’ve got a lot of talent around him. But I think he’s kind of like that string that ties them all together. I think he’s that guy for them. And he makes big plays for them.”


WHAT ABOUT DEFENSIVELY? — “I think he does a good job. He gets in foul trouble every now and then. He’s a guy that I’m sure [John Calipari] depends on. He leans on Briscoe. He leans on him quite a bit.”


WHY DID YOU PUT ANTON BEARD INTO THE STARTING LINEUP? — “Anton is probably one of the guys with the most experience playing, especially in conference play, and playing period. And he’s been playing real well this season. I think last year we saw his play was kind of sporadic but I think he’s been really, really solid. I think the guys are following his lead. He’s one of the defensive captains out on the floor. I think it was time. He’s on the floor, he’s like an unstoppable force in this league defensively. The guys are responding to him and playing.”


HOW DO YOU THINK THE GUYS RESPOND TO YOU HAVING MULTIPLE STARTERS? — “I think in those guys’ minds they know who gets to playing. And once you get that playing time, what do you do with that playing time? I’m confident of any guy that I put in there. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, they’re going to come up and do their job. And, so, I think they’ve built confidence and they trust in each other. So, you can start. I think the most important thing is can you go out and get our team what they need, some efficient basketball defensively, offensively. It’s pretty much the energy.”


HOW DO YOU SEE MISSOURI’S STRUGGLING CONFIDENCE MANIFEST ON THE COURT? — “I saw a team the other night. We had the opportunity to really put them away. But I saw a team that kind of dug down in the trenches and one of the kids said, ‘What do we have to lose?’ It’s amazing how they started playing. I thought they played loose and in attack. They got some guys that got in foul trouble early on. That’s one of the things about it. It’s hard to go on the road and when one of your best players gets in foul trouble. But that’s the one thing about it. I thought they were fighting for Coach Kim [Anderson]. They played really, really well for him. Other than that, they were very, very talented coming in. But it’s a team that obviously they’re still trying to find their way. They got a lot of young players. But I thought they fought. They got themselves back in the game, a 10-point game, I think. But they didn’t go away. So, I think going forward, I think you’ve got to build on that. I think Kim will get them ready. He’ll get them there.”


HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO GET A YOUNG TEAM PLAYING WITH CONFIDENCE WHEN THE SUCCESS ISN’T THERE? — “I think it goes back to they have to taste success at some point in time. And how do you do that? You gain confidence by winning. And, so, that’s going to be the formula. The games they play, they play pretty good. That was one of my concerns when they came in here is that they’re getting closer. LSU beat them. They were right there. They’ve had it happen in a lot of games except ours in conference play. So, I think you build on the positive and it can turn into some wins and you get some momentum.”