Remember the couple of times in The Hangover when Doug's future father-in-law thinks of crazy happenings in Las Vegas and he can only stare ahead and mutter "Vegas."? That's how people should react to basketball games played in Oxford. Arkansas loses. Lights go out for half an hour. "Tad Pad."
The Razorbacks have now lost 15 of their last 17 games in what is widely regarded as the worst basketball arena in the SEC, but this was an entertaining and competitive game - unlike Arkansas' last trip away from Fayetteville.
Ole Miss led by eight at halftime and pushed the lead up to double digits in the second half before the Hogs clawed their way back to tying the game at 50. However, Marshall Henderson and Nick Williams knocked down a couple of quick threes for the Rebels shortly thereafter and the Razorbacks were never able to make the game close again.
With Marshawn Powell and BJ Young playing over 40 minutes in Arkansas' double overtime game against Auburn on Wednesday, it was clear the Hogs were going to need other players to step up to give the Hogs a chance, and some of them came through. Hunter Mickelson scored 10 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, blocked 3 shots and made 2 assists - including a very nice pass to a cutting Young in the first half that led to a lay-up. Rickey Scott had one of his better games of the year, scoring 9 points to go along with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Scott also had a nifty layup featuring a fake behind-the-back pass during Arkansas' run in the second half.
Unfortunatley, Mardracus Wade took a step back after playing well in the Auburn game. The junior guard failed to score in 14 minutes of action. Coty Clarke, who also played well against Auburn, scored just one point but did grab 5 rebounds. One of these days when all of Arkansas' non named BJ or Marshawn play well at the same time, the Razorbacks will be difficult to beat.
Considering how well the Rebels have been playing and having to deal with the poisonous vapors of the Tad Pad, this was one of the less likely games Arkansas would win this season. It's the type of game that would have been wonderful for Arkansas to have won, but it shouldn't be a huge disappointment that the Hogs lost. That the team played well for much of the game, and made a run in the second half that nearly turned the entire game around, is hopefully a sign that disasters like the one we saw in College Station won't happen again and that the Razorbacks are maturing into a better team.
Mississippi State visits Fayetteville on Wednesday, and as they are one of the worst teams in the conference this year, it will be a game Arkansas should win, and hope for a road victory next Saturday.
SEC Officiating Moment: BJ Young picked up perhaps the weakest flagrant foul in the history of basketball in the first half for grabbing an Ole Miss player's shorts for a split second while falling the floor during a scramble. Young was slapped with a Flagrant 1. In the second half, one of the Rebels' big men hit Marshawn Powell in the jaw with his elbow and instead of a more harsh punishment, was also given a Flagrant 1. It likely didn't effect the end of the game, but it was another indictment of SEC officiating, one of the most fun running jokes among SEC fans.