There was a small fire in the coach's suite at Bud Walton before the game. It was nothing serious and it didn't interfere with the game at all, but it was somewhat of an apt omen as the Razorbacks burned right through the Vols Saturday nights. It certainly wasn't smoke for Tennessee mascot Smokey, anyway.
It's no coincidence that in Jimmy Whitt and Anton Beard's two best SEC games, the Razorbacks have won in a rout. That was the case in Columbia last month against Missouri and that's what happened Saturday night in Bud Walton against Tennessee.
The Hogs didn't win just because of that. As Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said afterward, the Vols were outplayed from the start. Arkansas jumped out to a quick lead and never came close to losing it.
Arkansas' stars played their normal part. Moses Kingsley had his way with the Vols down low. He came off the bench and still scored 11 points in the first half. Dusty Hannahs put in 14 and Anthlon Bell scored 12. The Hogs' bench came to play, as mentioned. Whitt scored 10 points, including just his second and third threes of the year, and Beard scored 12. Whitt also had a really nice one-handed bounce pass on a fast break that led to an easy layup.
Tennessee started off ice cold, making just three of their first 20 shots and Arkansas took advantage. Whitt's first three gave the Hogs a 12 point lead with 11:51 to go in the first half and it was never within single digits again. Tennessee shot much better in the second half, but couldn't slow down Arkansas so they never seriously threatened.
The win puts Arkansas back at .500 in conference play and right smack in the middle of the SEC standings. The two games next week are big for the Hogs because they're both winnable road games - at Mississippi State and at Ole Miss. If the Razorbacks are really anywhere near the bubble, as Joe Lunardi suggested this morning, winning a couple more road games is important, even if they end up with a chance at the NIT.