Davis

Razorback junior guard Davonte Davis (#4) from Jacksonville, AR drives to the basket against North Dakota State at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — No. 9 Arkansas is in Hawaii where they will play three games in as many days in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

The Hogs left Fayetteville Friday and will mix in some fun with hoops while there. The Hogs will face Louisville on Monday at 4 p.m. While Arkansas is 3-0 Louisville is 0-3. Louisville has lost to Bellarmine 67-66, Wright State 73-72 and Appalachian State 61-60. Arkansas’ Anthony Black isn’t buying that translates to an easy win for the Hogs against a school that is usually a national power.

“A team like that that’s struggling – they are going to come out with a lot of fire,” Black said. “So we’ve got to be ready for them come with their hardest, best punch they have. I mean they have three 1-point losses. And a lot of times games like that could have gone either way. They are a couple of buckets away from being 3-0 as well. So we have to disregard their record and respect our opponent and just come up with a good game plan.”

Davonte Davis agrees with Black and knows the Hogs will get the best shot Louisville has to offer.

“Like AB said, we’ve got to be sure we’re watching film and in practice taking care of the Xs and Os to make sure we are able to guard those guys,” Davis said. “Because they are a totally different team from the teams we’ve been playing besides Texas. They are kind of like the style with Texas where they’ve got a lot of guys that are athletic and can make plays for each other and themselves. So like AB said, forget the record it’s a team that wouldn’t be in this tournament if there was something wrong. Come out and play hard because we know they are going to try and punch us in the mouth.”

While the first three games for Arkansas have been in Bud Walton Arena this won’t be the first time to be on an away court. In addition to an exhibition game at Texas prior to the season, Arkansas played four games in Europe during August. Davis talked about if that will help the Hogs.

“Somebody asked me that earlier and I said it kind of helps me knowing I’m going pretty far from where I’ve played basketball,” Black said. “I think it’s a blessing and amazing but it’s also a business trip. I think it will help me and the team for sure with the chemistry away from home. Away from home is different than being at home. So I think that will help us knowing we’ve got each other there.”

On Tuesday, the Hogs will face either Texas Tech or Creighton. The opponent for Wednesday isn’t known at this time. Playing three games in as many days will allow the Hogs to use their depth.

“Like you say, we’ve got a lot of depth on this team,” Black said. “We’ve got a lot of dudes we trust to come in and give us good minutes. So in a tournament like that, we’re all going to have to come in and contribute. Even those not getting in the game are going to have to contribute in a way. We have pretty good depth. I think we have some of the best in the country.”

Arkansas has beaten North Dakota State, Fordham and South Dakota State. They know the level of competition will move up a few notches in this tournament. Are they ready for that?

“I think we are,” Davis said. “The loss to Texas helped us out thinking we can’t just come out and think somebody is going hand us a win because it’s not going to happen. It’s possible but it’s not going to happen like that. Just play our game. Play hard on defense and the offense will take care of itself.

“Play fast like we do and make sure we don’t turn the ball over and take care of ourselves and hopefully come up with the win. There’s a lot of good teams there but we’ve got to take it one game at a time and try and win.”

Davis feels Arkansas moving to a bigger stage such as Monday’s game on ESPN2 and then the second game either on ESPN or ESPN2 at either 7 p.m, or 1:30 p.m. is something the Hogs can handle.

“I think if we all stay connected, stay together, it won’t be no different than playing at Bud,” Davis said. “We’ve all experienced it now. Before they got here we told them its going to be different than wherever they played in high school like at Texas. It’s crazier. We make sure that in practice we prepare for what’s upcoming. So I think us being ready collectively as team we’ll be prepared.”

Black agrees with Davis and doesn’t anticipate playing better competition away from home as an issue.

“I think we’ll be good to play in that environment because we’ve got a lot of gamers,” Black said. “A lot of people will rise up to the challenge. I think playing in an environment like that will probably elevate us.”

In addition to Louisville, Creighton and Texas Tech, the other teams in the tournament along with Arkansas are Ohio State, San Diego State, Cincinnati and Arizona. Click here for the bracket.

Arkansas’ first game after this tournament will be at home on Monday night, Nov. 28, against Troy at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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