A Very Nice Start to SEC Play: Arkansas 98, Mississippi State 88

Julysses Nobles tries to block the shot of Arnett Moultrie. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

What a weekend this has been for Razorback fans. One night after the football team won the Cotton Bowl, the basketball Hogs kicked off SEC play with the first big win of the Mike Anderson era: a 10-point victory over No. 15 Mississippi State before a season-high crowd in Bud Walton.

Guards Julysses Nobles and B.J Young were the stars of this game, scoring 24 points each (the total is a career high for Nobles). Mississippi State has a major size advantage over Arkansas, but the Bulldogs only outrebounded the Hogs by five. Meanwhile, Arkansas forced 18 turnovers and committed only nine while dishing out 22 assists. Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field.

If you haven't checked this team out yet, you definitely should. They are small, and they have almost no depth. But they play really hard, and there is some real talent on this squad. B.J. Young has all the makings of a star, and Rickey Scott and Mardracus Wade have made tremendous improvement since last year. The rest of the squad hasn't shown a lot of offensive consistency but Nobles and Rashad Madden have shown the potential to be solid scorers.

This team is bound to lose its fair share of games, and the jury is out on how they will perform on the road. Add everything together, and I'll be more than happy with an NIT bid. But for the first time in a long while, I think the basketball team will be fun to watch.

Videos and photo gallery after the jump.

Game highlights:

Mike Anderson's post-game press conference:

Post-game press conference featuring Julysses Nobles and B.J. Young:

Photo gallery:

Photos and video courtesy of ArkansasRazorbacks.com

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