Arkansas' pace will challenge U-M (w/video)

If Michigan hopes to avenge last season's two-point loss at Arkansas with a win against the Razorbacks Saturday at Crisler Center (noon, CBS TV), the Wolverines can't afford the same slow start that plagued them last January. **with Beilein video**

If playing on the road in front of a crowd on the verge of exploding wasn't difficult enough, Michigan made it that much harder last year at Arkansas falling behind by as many as twenty points in the first twenty minutes of play.

Saturday, when the Razorbacks invade Crisler Center, the Wolverines can't afford another slow start similar to the one that ended with the 66-64 loss in Fayetteville last season.

"We saw what they did to us last year," said Head Coach John Beilein. "They're going to bring a quickness and intensity to the game that is tough to match and tough to simulate in practice. We're going to have to be ready to play forty minutes of basketball."

Despite a disappointing 4-3 start to the season for Arkansas that included losses in their last three outings versus Arizona State, Wisconsin and Syracuse, the Razorbacks boast one of the best scoring duos in the nation with sophomore guard B.J. Young averaging 19.5 points per game, and junior power forward Marshawn Powell averaging 16.1 points per game.

"I think Powell is the best power forward we've seen all year," said Beilein. "And I think we've seen some pretty good ones. Whether it was Kansas State, Pitt and North Carolina State --- I think he's as good as anybody we've seen if not better, so it's between him and Young."

In Tuesday night's blowout win over Western Michigan, Beilein dabbled with a big lineup more than usual, and much to his delight it was very effective with two big men on the floor. Against a fast paced, athletic Arkansas team that loves to get up and down the floor, that strategy won't be as prevalent Saturday.

"We were plus 22 the other day with Jordan Morgan in the lineup," said Beilein. "That was one of the first times we were in a plus with two bigs in there."

"How much we play them again will be about how much we feel they can handle."

Handling the Arkansas pressure will primarily fall on Michigan's guard play, which no longer has the benefit of leaning on the veteran hand of Stu Douglass who, as Beilein noted Friday, did a nice job against the Razorbacks defense last year.

"We did only turn the ball over against them ten times last year, but it was the beginning (of the game) when we did it," said Beilein. "But ten turnovers against them probably was the lowest total of the year. If we get that number again we have a chance."

To watch video of Beilein's press conference Friday, press play below.



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