Arkansas plans to bring "40 Minutes of Hell" to Knoxville tonight.
It's nothing personal; it's the Razorbacks' men's basketball motto making a return with new coach Mike Anderson, who once served as an assistant on Nolan Richardson's 1994 national championship team that made the phrase famous.
Arkansas (17-8, 5-5 SEC) will press, trap, run and gun against Tennessee (13-12, 5-5) today (TV: MyVLT, 8 p.m.) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Razorbacks are leading the SEC in steals (9.3 per league game), turnover margin (plus-four) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (26.3 percent), all signs Anderson's system is having the desired effect.
Arkansas has yet to win a road game, but it's worth noting the Hogs have tripped up No. 23 Mississippi State (98-88, Jan. 7), No. 17 Michigan (66-64, Jan. 21) and Vanderbilt (82-74, Jan. 31).
The Vols, looking to match their season-best win streak of four games, insist they aren't panicking over the concept of being pressed for 40 minutes.
On the contrary.
"If you're gonna press me, I'm gonna attack you,'' UT sophomore point guard Trae Golden said Monday. "The way I see it, we should just attack the rim and go head-on into it.''
Vols coach Cuonzo Martin had an opportunity during the past three years to watch Anderson run his tenacious system while both were coaching in the state of Missouri. Martin also was an assistant at Purdue when the Boilermakers split a pair of games against Anderson's Missouri team.
"For those guys, (pressing) is constant, it's from start to finish — it's not a case of let's press a couple possessions,'' Martin said. "They will run and jump at you ... it's one of those deals they keep running guys at you.
"They'll switch everything on the back side, so it's not a case where you feel like there's a sigh of relief. They're still pressuring you, and they won't allow you to let up.''
Golden, who hasn't had much of a problem handling token presses thrown at him by various opponents, said it's a matter of poise.
"We just have to execute our offense, be calm, know what a good shot is, and not let that press affect us,'' Golden said. "They may try to get the ball out of my hands, so everyone has to be ready to attack.
"Having a guy like Jeronne (Maymon) is a huge advantage, and Cam (Tatum), Jordan (McRae) and Skylar (McBee) are all capable of bringing it up, too.''
Martin said Maymon is the key member of that group.
"We try to move it through the air (against the press) as opposed to a lot of dribbling,'' Martin said. "Jeronne is a key with our press more than anybody. He does a really good job of facilitating; he's one of our better ball handlers and decision makers.''
The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Maymon got a chuckle out of hearing that he was praised for his ball handling.
"You know all big guys want to be guards sometimes,'' Maymon said. "I wasn't as tall in high school as I am now, so I've always handled the ball. I just try to keep it simple and bring the ball up, not trying to make any spectacular plays.''
UT freshman Jarnell Stokes, who was heavily recruited by Anderson's staff going back to his freshman year of high school, said he's not overly concerned with Arkansas' vaunted attack.
"I definitely think I can bring the ball up against the press, because I saw a lot of that in high school,'' the 6-foot-8, 270-pound Stokes said. "I've definitely worked on my ball skills, and we've done pretty good against the press this season. It's just meeting the ball and making the right pass.''
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32