clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arkansas vs. Tennessee Recap and Florida Preview: Next!

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Hogs head to Gainesville, where they haven't won since 1995.

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas managed to escape again, as a late three-pointer rattled around and fell out with 2.3 seconds left. Arkansas has had the benefit of opponents missing open shots in the last two games to win, but Hog fans will take it. Florida, however, may not be so forgiving.

Arkansas Tennessee
Points 69 64
Efficiency 0.99 0.93
Floor % 48.57% 43.48%
Effective FG % 52.94% 48.18%
Two FG % 56.25% 46.34%
Three FG % 31.58% 35.71%
Offensive Rebound % 29.63% 29.03%
Turnover % 25.71% 23.19%
Assists : Turnovers 1.06 0.63

I've said over and over again that Arkansas must win by getting up more shots, making it okay to get outshot. Instead, Arkansas went and did the opposite. The Hogs lost the turnover battle (18-16), barely won the offensive rebounding battle (29.6 percent to 29.0 percent), and allowed Tennessee to shoot four more shots (55 to 51). Arkansas won by shooting a higher percentage, especially from inside the arc.

Notice again that Arkansas once again won the floor percentage. That's a pretty key stat, considering that the Hogs are 16-0 this season when winning it and 0-4 when losing it. You don't have to shoot better to have a higher floor percentage, but if you don't shoot better, you had better get turnovers and offensive boards to win on pure quantity of shots taken.

Arkansas possession efficiency score
BALLHANDLERS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Rashad Madden 9 1 1 9 4 3 0.79
Anton Beard 10 0 0 5 3 1 1.33
Jabril Durham 0 0 0 0 0 3 -1.00
SHOOTERS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Michael Qualls 17 1 0 11 7 3 1.03
Anthlon Bell 4 0 0 8 0 0 0.50
Manuale Watkins 0 0 1 0 0 1 1.00
Nick Babb 0 0 0 0 0 2 -1.00
FORWARDS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Bobby Portis 17 2 0 8 6 3 1.36
Alandise Harris 10 2 1 9 0 2 1.18
Jacorey Williams 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00
Moses Kingsley 2 0 0 0 2 0 2.00

Beard outplayed Madden (again), although Mike Anderson has started using both on the floor at once more often. Madden made some nice plays, including a critical three-pointer late, but also had some boneheaded plays, like his turnover that set up Tennessee's final shot. Bell again failed to hit a three-pointer, making Beard the more obvious choice to get those minutes. Portis and Harris played well, and Kingsley did a fine job in place of a sick Williams.

A crazy stat worth noting is that in the first half of the last two games, Arkansas is a combined -18 in rebounding margin. In the second half of those games? The Hogs are +18. Pretty impressive.

Looking ahead to Florida

Record RPI vs. top 50 vs. top 100
Arkansas 16-4 19th 3-2 6-4
Florida 11-9 70th 0-7 3-8

It's been a rough season in Gainesville, as Florida hasn't looked great at any point. They won their first three conference games (against South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Auburn) and then dropped three straight before beating Alabama on Tuesday. Their three best wins (per RPI) are Alabama, Yale, and William & Mary. Seriously.

Name Position Height Points Rebounds Assists FG % 3FG %
Michael Frazier* G 6-4 13.4 4.8 1.7 0.434 0.398
Dorian Finney-Smith* F 6-8 13.1 5.6 1.7 0.473 0.405
Eli Carter* G 6-2 7.7 2.1 1.9 0.396 0.333
Kasey Hill* G 6-1 7.6 2.0 4.4 0.401 0.417
Jon Horford* F 6-10 6.7 4.7 - 0.484 -
Devin Robinson F 6-8 6.1 2.7 - 0.383 -
Chris Walker F 6-10 5.7 4.0 - 0.523 -
Alex Murphy F 6-10 5.2 2.2 - 0.487 -
Jacob Kurtz F 6-6 4.5 4.4 1.2 0.607 -
Chris Chiozza G 6-0 4.1 - - 0.418 -

Much of Florida's struggles are due at least in part to the struggles of Hill and Walker, a couple of five-star recruits who have been serious disappointments. A program like Florida can survive one big bust, but two is really hurting them. They're also less athletic than previous Gator teams. With the notable exception of Finney-Smith, the roster consists of a bunch of trees (Horford, Robinson, Walker, Murphy) and a bunch of undersized guards that are either raw or too small to create shots. Frazier and Finney-Smith have to provide pretty much all the offense, and Carter has helped out in recent games.

Arkansas offensive overview
Arkansas offense Florida defense Advantage
Efficiency 1.11 (14th) 0.91 (38th) Push
Floor % 53.3% (13th) 43.1% (33rd) Push

Arkansas has skated for months without playing a good defense, and that ends abruptly on Saturday. Florida, for its struggles, has better numbers than its record indicates.

Arkansas shooting
Arkansas offense Florida defense Advantage
Effective Field Goal % 51.6% (71st) 46.1% (78th) Push
Two Point % 49.8% (97th) 43.2% (44th) Florida
Three Point % 37.1% (58th) 34.7% (217th) Arkansas big
Three Point Rate 30.9% (258th) 32.7% (134th) -

At one point in December, Arkansas led the NCAA in three point shooting. It's been a steady decline since then, and the Hogs have now bottomed out at 58th. The Hogs aren't leaving Gainesville with a win unless they start getting those triples to fall. If Bell can't do it, Beard needs to try. Madden, statistically the best three-point shooter, needs to shoot more. He'll be open. It's Florida's biggest defensive weakness.

Arkansas ballhandling
Arkansas offense Florida defense Advantage
Assist % 60.9% (38th) 49.9% (90th) Arkansas
Turnover % 16.3% (36th) 22.7% (20th) Push
Assist : Turnover Ratio 1.46 (11th) 0.67 (11th) Push

Arkansas has gotten used to having serious ballhandling advantages (on both sides), but Florida will put a stop to that. This isn't good news, since Arkansas turned it over 18 times in both games against Tennessee, the only really good pressing defense the Hogs have seen since the Iowa State debacle. Arkansas has to take care of the basketball.

Florida offensive overview
Florida offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Efficiency 1.02 (100th) 0.96 (153rd) Florida
Floor % 48.1% (140th) 46.4% (138th) Push

Florida has struggled to score this year, but not as badly as Arkansas has struggled to stop the scoring. The Hog defense held Tennessee under 45 percent floor percentage, and that needs to happen again.

Florida shooting
Florida offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Effective Field Goal % 51.3% (85th) 50.3% (238th) Florida big
Two Point % 51.0% (60th) 48.3% (196th) Florida big
Three Point % 34.5% (156th) 36.3% (267th) Florida
Three Point Rate 37.2% (95th) 32.0% (105th) -

Oh boy. The Gators like to bomb threes, but they're actually better when they can get inside. This is another game that Arkansas needs to limit Florida's shots by forcing turnovers and boxing out on defense. Florida doesn't draw fouls very well, so disrupting short shots could slow down Florida's shooting.

Florida ballhandling
Florida offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Assist % 56.8% (99th) 50.7% (103rd) Push
Turnover % 19.9% (234th) 21.6% (37th) Arkansas big
Assist : Turnover Ratio 1.06 (110th) 0.81 (55th) Arkansas

Not the overwhelming advantage we're used to seeing, but the Hogs should force some turnovers. If you noticed in the roster above Florida rotates just four guards, so the Hogs could wear down the ballhandlers with the press. The Hogs have labored to force turnovers against Mizzou and Tennessee teams with bad ballhandling, so they have to take advantage on Saturday.

Arkansas Florida Advantage
Arkansas offensive 36.5% (17th) 74.0% (63rd) Push
Arkansas defensive 71.7% (141st) 33.3% (57th) Florida

Florida is a good defensive rebounding team, but Arkansas has to get some offensive rebounds. The Hogs did a poor job of offensive rebounding against Tennessee after excellent performances against Alabama and Mizzou.

Arkansas Florida Advantage
Arkansas drawing 26.3% (242nd) 26.3% (119th) Florida big
Arkansas committing 24.9% (55th) 24.7% (321st) Arkansas big

Neither team commits many fouls nor draws many fouls, so in theory this should be a low-foul game. But it's an SEC road game, so there will be probably 1,000 fouls called and Portis being mugged under the basket won't be one of them.

Keys to the Game

  1. Force turnovers! Supposed to be a staple of the Mike Anderson/Nolan Richardson system, forcing turnovers has become a lost art this year, as former players like Mardracus Wade, Fred Gulley, and Coty Clarke are sorely missed. Florida's ballhandling is sloppy, so the Hogs have to force turnovers. Again, if this game becomes a jump-shooting contest, Arkansas will lose, probably badly.
  2. Crash the offensive glass. The other way to circumvent a better-shooting team is to chase a higher percentage of missed shots. Arkansas needs to get back to how it attacked the glass against Alabama and Mizzou.
  3. Hit some three-pointers. Florida's primary defensive weakness is that the Gators don't defend the three well. Arkansas can't go 6-for-19 like it did against Tennessee.
Overall, I don't really like the Hogs' chances. Florida has badly underachieved, but the numbers show a good team that has hit some hard luck. Still, the ball has bounced Arkansas' way this season, so there's definitely a good chance to pull this one out. With three games Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Auburn looming over the next week-and-a-half, Arkansas can easily afford to drop this one.