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Arkansas vs. Auburn Recap and Ole Miss Preview: Class Act

The Hogs leave the friendly confines of Bud Walton South for the usually hostile Tad Pad. By hostile, I mean cockroaches in the corner and brownish-colored water in the tap.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

It took about four hours, but Arkansas scored 100 points in a road win, something that hadn't happened since 1997. Arkansas got its largest-margin road win of the Mike Anderson era and its largest since 2008 by a 101-87 final over struggling Auburn.

Some fans take on the attitude of their coaches, and Auburn basketball is no exception. Bruce Pearl's boisterous attitude was present through the students racing through a mostly-empty Bud Walton Arena South on Tuesday night, screaming at Arkansas' players and the referees. Auburn players helped the act by flopping and flailing wildly, and the officials - who are very much interested in that oceanfront property in Arizona you have for sale - bought it all, calling a ludicrous 53 fouls and causing the first half to go on seemingly forever. Still, Arkansas is now 4-0 in its home away from home in Auburn.

Arkansas Auburn
Points 101 87
Efficiency 1.26 1.07
Floor % 58.75% 53.09%
Effective FG % 62.31% 51.85%
Two FG % 57.14% 38.24%
Three FG % 47.83% 50.00%
Offensive Rebound % 23.33% 29.03%
Turnover % 12.50% 20.99%
Assists : Turnovers 2.30 0.65

I wrote in the preview that Auburn's biggest weakness was its two-point defense, and that Arkansas should get to the rim with ease. The Hogs shot 57.1 percent inside the arc, and got good perimeter games from Bell, Madden, and Qualls. Basically, the offense worked the way it should.

Arkansas possession efficiency score
BALLHANDLERS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Rashad Madden 12 1 2 6 2 0 2.14
Anton Beard 7 1 0 6 1 0 1.23
Jabril Durham 3 0 0 4 0 0 0.75
SHOOTERS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Michael Qualls 19 0 2 9 5 2 1.56
Anthlon Bell 16 0 0 7 5 1 1.52
Manuale Watkins 2 0 1 1 0 2 1.00
FORWARDS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Bobby Portis 22 1 1 15 4 3 1.20
Alandise Harris 10 0 1 8 4 0 1.10
Jacorey Williams 6 1 2 7 4 1 0.90
Moses Kingsley 2 2 0 1 0 1 2.00

Generally, 1.1 to 1.5 is a good game, and above 1.5 is a great game. By that count, Qualls, Bell, and Madden all had great games, with Madden's stunningly efficient statline (12 points on 6 field goal and 2 free throw attempts, an offensive rebound, 2 steals, and zero turnovers) taking the cake. Portis wasn't overwhelmingly efficient, but did well with volume.

Previewing Ole Miss

The Rebs boatraced the Hogs in Fayetteville earlier, 96-82. Ole Miss shot lights out from the field and roasted Arkansas' press with ease. The Hog defense has improved tremendously since that game, but Ole Miss is riding a six-game win streak. Both teams are in the field of 65; the Hogs comfortably so, and Ole Miss only uncomfortably thanks to a season-opening loss to Charleston Southern.

Record RPI vs. top 50 vs. top 100
Arkansas 19-5 21st 3-2 6-5
Ole Miss 17-7 37th 3-3 6-5
Name Position Height Points Rebounds Assists FG % 3FG %
Stefan Moody* G 5-10 15.6 3.1 2.3 0.406 0.358
Jarvis Summers* G 6-3 12.7 1.8 4.4 0.353 0.282
Ladarius White* G 6-6 11.6 3.2 1.1 0.425 0.426
Sebastian Saiz* F 6-9 7.4 5.3 - 0.605 -
M.J. Rhett* F 6-9 6.7 4.7 - 0.532 -
Dwight Coleby F 6-9 6.2 5.1 - 0.596 -
Terence Smith G 6-4 4.1 1.3 1.6 0.391 0.341
Martavious Newby G 6-3 3.8 5.0 1.6 0.426 0.276
Aaron Jones F 6-9 3.4 2.7 - 0.455 -

The Rebs are similar to South Carolina and Mississippi State in terms of offensive style. They use a heavy rotation of forwards whose primary purpose is defense and rebounding, and get their scoring from a trio of guards. The forwards tend to play physical, trying to encourage the opponent to attempt a bunch of three-pointers (which never fall in road games). They have fouls to give, and like most SEC teams, Ole Miss uses fouls committed to get the officials in the mood of calling fouls so they'll get calls at the other end (I'll write more on this at a later date).

Arkansas offensive overview
Arkansas offense Ole Miss defense Advantage
Efficiency 1.09 (27th) 0.96 (94th) Arkansas
Floor % 52.2% (20th) 45.3% (88th) Arkansas

Ole Miss is significantly better than Auburn, but worse than Florida, South Carolina and Mississippi State in terms of defense. As we saw against Auburn, playing that trio of good defenses consecutively may have helped this team.

Arkansas shooting
Arkansas offense Ole Miss defense Advantage
Effective Field Goal % 50.8% (95th) 45.8% (67th) Push
Two Point % 49.6% (102nd) 42.9% (27th) Ole Miss
Three Point % 35.7% (102nd) 33.5% (144th) Push
Three Point Rate 30.5% (271st) 40.3% (327th) -

Here we see the effect of Ole Miss' big lineup of forwards. They are very good inside the paint, forcing opponents to attempt a bunch of three-pointers. Portis has to shred them in the low post, because Arkansas probably can't win a jump-shooting contest.

Arkansas ballhandling
Arkansas offense Ole Miss defense Advantage
Assist % 60.1% (47th) 62.6% (334th) Arkansas big
Turnover % 16.1% (30th) 18.3% (209th) Arkansas big
Assist : Turnover Ratio 1.40 (10th) 1.07 (252nd) Arkansas big

"Volume of shots" has been a phrase I've used a lot to describe Arkansas' strategy. In order to get volume, you have to handle the ball well, and Arkansas can do that. Ole Miss' shooting defense is good, and it's ballhandling defense is not as good. The Hogs can't turn it over here.

Ole Miss offensive overview
Ole Miss offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Efficiency 1.06 (44th) 0.95 (82nd) Push
Floor % 50.4% (60th) 45.3% (85th) Push

Slight advantage to the Rebels but technically a push here. Arkansas' defense has climbed 170 spots since the first meeting (it was 256th after that game).

Ole Miss shooting
Ole Miss offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Effective Field Goal % 49.2% (166th) 48.4% (149th) Push
Two Point % 48.0% (164th) 46.9% (145th) Push
Three Point % 34.6% (156th) 34.3% (193rd) Push
Three Point Rate 31.3% (248th) 32.6% (131st) -

Despite what happened in Fayetteville, Ole Miss isn't a great shooting team. Coming off a Thursday game against Florida, the Rebels may have tired legs and the shots may not fall.

Ole Miss ballhandling
Ole Miss offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Assist % 52.5% (188th) 51.5% (130th) Arkansas
Turnover % 16.8% (48th) 22.2% (22nd) Push
Assist : Turnover Ratio 1.13 (83rd) 0.76 (29th) Arkansas

This is really where Ole Miss won the first game. The kryptonite of Arkansas' press is a great point guard that can shred it with ease. Jarvis Summers is that guy for Ole Miss. Arguably the conference's best point guard, Summers keeps Ole Miss' offense humming. He ripped Arkansas' press wide open in the first meeting, and Ole Miss used a variety of ball screens to get Portis out of the lane, creating open attempts underneath the basket. Arkansas has countered that strategy in recent games by backing off the press occasionally and improving help defense, so it will be interesting to see if Ole Miss can duplicate their X's and O's success of the first matchup.

Arkansas Ole Miss Advantage
Arkansas offensive 34.9% (29th) 70.8% (183rd) Arkansas
Arkansas defensive 71.8% (139th) 32.1% (87th) Ole Miss

Both teams' offensive rebounding is at the advantage, although Arkansas' advantage is somewhat larger.

Arkansas Ole Miss Advantage
Arkansas drawing 26.0% (260th) 28.4% (240th) Push
Arkansas committing 25.5% (85th) 27.6% (154th) Arkansas

Like every other SEC team, Ole Miss commits a lot of fouls and draws a lot. They use committed fouls to attempt to create a foulfest so they can get calls at the other end. It's annoying and it's killed the quality of SEC basketball over the last few years, but it is what it is. Arkansas the opposite, rarely fouling (25.5 percent) and rarely drawing fouls (26 percent).

Keys to the Game

  1. Get to the rim. Ole Miss has a solid halfcourt defense, forcing opponents to jack up a ton of three-pointers. Arkansas cannot win falling into that pattern, and needs to get Portis touches inside to have a chance.
  2. Rotate back in the halfcourt. Andy Kennedy is a ballscreen master, and it's probably the main reason Ole Miss has had Arkansas' number in recent years. In the first matchup, Ole Miss used a dazzling array of ball screens and dribble penetrations to draw Portis away from the basket or off his man and then score on the backside. Arkansas' help defense has improved tremendously since the first matchup, but it has to be sound in this game.
  3. Force turnovers. Summers did as he pleased in the first game, breaking Arkansas' press with ease (which heavily contributed to key #2). If the Hogs can't turn the Rebs over in the fullcourt, they need to get back and trap in the halfcourt to keep from giving up easy baskets.