Vanderbilt and Arkansas left 2021 in entirely different moods.
The Commodores probably didn’t want 2021 to end after they finished the year with three consecutive wins.
The Razorbacks likely are happy to see 2022 after they ended 2021 losing three of their last four games, including their SEC opener at Mississippi State.
In the first game of 2022 for each, the Commodores will try to keep their momentum going, and the Razorbacks will try to get back on track when the teams meet in an SEC matchup Tuesday night in Fayetteville, Ark.
The last game Vanderbilt played came on Dec. 23, when the Commodores beat BYU in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
Vanderbilt (8-4) advanced to the championship game against Stanford, but that game was canceled for COVID-19 reasons within Stanford’s program.
As a result, the Commodores have had nearly two weeks to prepare for their SEC opener, against Arkansas.
“Our guys are starting to build confidence,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said after the BYU game. “A good win like this is great for our confidence.”
Vanderbilt is led in scoring by Scotty Pippen Jr., who is averaging 18.1 points a contest.
The Commodores hope to keep their momentum going at Arkansas, which is coming off an 81-68 loss at Mississippi State on Dec. 29.
The Razorbacks (10-3, 0-1 SEC) spent most of the season’s first month ranked, but they have since dropped out of the Top 25 and hope a new year means a chance to refocus as conference play ratchets up.
Arkansas did play that game without leading scorer JD Notae (18.0 points a ame), who was out with an illness.
Notae likely will be back in the lineup against Vanderbilt.
“We’ve got to continue to coach and continue to fight and scrap,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We can all see that. We’ve got to improve in a lot of areas, not just one area.”
–Field Level Media