by Robert Bell
DOWNTOWN TIP OFF CLUB: MIKE ANDERSON
11:15 a.m. Wyndham Riverfront Hotel. $15-$20.
While most folks are maintaining reasonable expectations for what could shape up to be a rocky season, there is an undeniable level of excitement about Mike Anderson's return to The Hill. The new head coach of the Razorback men's basketball team is, of course, no stranger to Fayetteville.
He served as assistant coach to Nolan Richardson during the heyday of the program, which saw three trips to the NCAA Final Four and a national championship in 1994. Anderson's approach is rooted in the intense pressure, "40 minutes of hell" style of play that Richardson made the hallmark of the hoop Hogs. Anderson himself has tempered early expectations, telling The Birmingham News that this first season might be more like "25 minutes of hell, and 15 minutes of 'What the hell are we doing?'"
But after more than a decade of middling basketball, Razorback fans are understandably excited about Anderson coming home to Bud Walton Arena. It'll be nice to see packed houses once again at The House that Nolan Built.
The Hogs take on the Houston Cougars at Verizon Arena Friday night at 7 p.m.