After enduring several strokes and a half dozen heart attacks, we can say that was the most thrilling Razorback basketball game - and the biggest victory - we've seen in a long, long time. That felt like the good 'ole days.
We couldn't be prouder of the team. So many heroes. They showed tons of poise out there today. On the several occasions when it looked like UT was on the verge of putting the game away, the Razorbacks came roaring back.
A few random thoughts:
* Charles Thomas Likes the SEC Tournament Semifinals. In last year's semifinal victory over Mississippi State, he scored 18 points and hauled in 18 rebounds. Today, he was even better, in our humble opinion, leading the team with 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He's looked out of it for much of the year, but today his focus and energy were off the charts.
* It Was a Good Day for the Razorbacks' Frontcourt. In addition to Hill's last-second heroics and Charles Thomas' dominance, Darian Townes continued his recent top-notch play, totaling 16 points. For much of the last few weeks, he has looked almost unstoppable in the post. OK, maybe that's something of an overstatement, but the point is this: he's been damn good. If Thomas and Townes keep this up, next week just may bring the Hogs their first NCAA Tournament win since 1999.
* Battle of the Boards. If you look at the box score, you're struck by how even the teams were: the Hogs shot 55 percent from the floor, the Vols 54. The Hogs made eight three-pointers for a 44 percent clip from behind the arc, the Vols 11 three-pointers for a 45 percent success rate. Additionally, the teams had an identical free-throw line: 20 of 29.
The one big difference: rebounds. Overall, the Hogs grabbed 32 of them, the Vols 21. Dig a little deeper, and you'll see that the Razorbacks had 12 offensive rebounds to the Vols' six. That may have been the difference in the game right there.
* Just in the Nick of Time. Just when we were about to file a missing persons report on Sonny Weems, he hit three huge field goals down the stretch. Stick around for a while, Sonny: Chances are we're gonna need you again.
* Kudos, Again, Steven Hill. We still can't believe that you made that shot, but we couldn't be happier for you. You've always struck us as a helluva guy (and your post-game interview was hilarious). Enjoy your time in the sun. You deserve it.
Now it's onto the championship game. Here's hoping for a repeat of 2000!