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Arkansas vs. Florida Recap and South Carolina Preview: Don't Say It

The state that couldn't find enough evidence to convict Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman definitely thinks that was a foul on Alandise Harris.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't a game Arkansas had to have, but it sure feels rough to lose it like that. Arkansas got outplayed for the majority of the game, but roared back after Bobby Portis put the team on his back and carried it to the finish line. Arkansas led 56-55 with under five seconds left when the tables were turned on baseline referee John Hampton. The insurance salesman from Lexington, Ky. (who played baseball at UK when Florida coach Billy Donovan was there), was the one that was sold a load of crap by Michael Frazier, calling a foul on Alandise Harris despite negligible contact and a clean block.

That's the second straight road game that a overzealous referee has made a game-changing call. Mizzou's Wes Clark let the Hogs off the hook the first time, but once again, America discovers that there is no justice in the state of Florida.

Arkansas Florida
Points 56 57*
Efficiency 0.88 0.89
Floor % 39.06% 46.88%
Effective FG % 42.50% 38.46%
Two FG % 47.73% 46.67%
Three FG % 18.75% 18.18%
Offensive Rebound % 36.11% 41.18%
Turnover % 25.00% 21.88%
Assists : Turnovers 0.69 0.79

Arkansas lost the floor percentage, falling to 0-5 when not winning it and 16-0 when winning it, although if the final atrocious call hadn't happened, Arkansas would have still lost the floor percentage battle but won the game. Arkansas outshot Florida, but lost the offensive rebounding and turnover battles, two things that should not ever happen.

Arkansas possession efficiency score
BALLHANDLERS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Rashad Madden 5 2 3 8 0 2 1.00
Anton Beard 10 2 0 8 0 3 1.09
Jabril Durham 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.00
SHOOTERS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Michael Qualls 5 4 2 10 1 4 0.76
Anthlon Bell 0 0 0 4 0 0 0.00
Manuale Watkins 4 0 1 2 0 0 2.50
Nick Babb DNP
FORWARDS Points Off. Rebs Steals FG Attempts FT Attempts Turnovers Score
Bobby Portis 21 3 0 15 4 0 1.41
Alandise Harris 3 0 0 4 2 6 0.27
Jacorey Williams 4 1 0 6 0 0 0.83
Moses Kingsley 4 0 0 2 0 1 1.33

Beard played well, although he disappeared for most of the second half before re-emerging in the final seconds. Arkansas' primary offensive problem was a bad game from Qualls, along with horrendous performances by Harris and Williams. Harris deserves high praise for his efforts in road wins over Georgia and Mizzou, but he took a big step back with six turnovers. Portis was the only offensive player that did well.

The Hogs aren't hurt too badly, though. Home games against South Carolina and Mississippi State should be wins, and a road game against Auburn is very winnable.

South Carolina preview

Record RPI vs. top 50 vs. top 100
Arkansas 16-5 21st 3-2 6-5
South Carolina 11-9 92nd 3-4 5-7

The Gamecocks have been up-and-down. They picked off Alabama and Georgia in Columbia and upset Iowa State on a neutral floor in Brooklyn. At 2-6 in conference play and with non-conference losses to Charlotte and Akron, they'll have to win the SEC tournament to have a shot at the Big Dance.

Name Position Height Points Rebounds Assists FG % 3FG %
Duane Notice* G 6-2 11.4 2.7 2.7 0.395 0.349
Sindarius Thornwell* G 6-5 11.2 5.6 2.0 0.343 0.247
Tyrone Johnson* G 6-3 10.1 3.1 3.5 0.393 0.280
Laimonas Chatkevicius* F 6-11 8.8 5.0 - 0.568 -
Demetrius Henry F 6-9 6.7 4.1 - 0.500 -
Mindaugas Kacinas F 6-7 6.6 5.2 - 0.608 -
Michael Carrera F 6-5 5.9 5.4 - 0.398 -
Marcus Stroman G 6-2 4.6 3.0 3.4 0.383 -
Justin McKie G 6-4 4.1 1.9 - 0.368 -

South Carolina is the antithesis of Arkansas. A slow-moving team that can't shoot, the Gamecocks are very good in their halfcourt defense but very bad at everything else. They have two big Lithuanians: Chatkevicius and Kacinas. College teams tend to recruit Eastern Europeans for defense and rebounding (Georgia's Nemanja Djurisic is from Montenegro). They are slower guys who are excellent defenders. They tend to draw a ton of fouls and rarely are called for fouls. Case in point: against Georgia this season, the Hogs shot only 13 free throws and Djurisic was whistled for zero fouls. The most egregious example of this was last year's SEC tournament loss to these Gamecocks: Arkansas was whistled for an astonishing 28 fouls leading to 41 Gamecock free throws, while Chatkevicius and Kacinas were called for a combined one foul.

This generous officiating hasn't extended to true road games, however, and that's a big reason South Carolina is 1-3 on the road, with the only win coming against Marshall (RPI: 259th), a team you schedule a road game against so you can say you won a road game.

Finally, similar to Ole Miss and Georgia, the Gamecocks tend to lean on their guards for scoring and their forwards for defense. Rebounding is a team effort, as Thornwell, a combo guard, leads the team.

Arkansas offensive overview
Arkansas offense South Carolina defense Advantage
Efficiency 1.10 (24th) 0.88 (12th) Push
Floor % 52.7% (17th) 42.5% (18th) Push

The Gamecocks are very good in halfcourt defense. Arkansas struggled with Florida, also very good, but that was on the road.

Arkansas shooting
Arkansas offense South Carolina defense Advantage
Effective Field Goal % 51.2% (82nd) 42.8% (13th) Carolina
Two Point % 49.7% (100th) 41.1% (8th) Carolina
Three Point % 36.4% (85th) 30.4% (38th) Push
Three Point Rate 30.8% (261st) 38.1% (290th) -

South Carolina hangs its hat on field goal defense. This is another example of a game Arkansas has to win by getting up more shots. Chatkevicius and Kacinas, along with Henry and Carrera, are very good and stopping shots inside the arc. Arkansas' three-point shooting continues to free fall, dropping 27 spots after only making three against Florida.

Arkansas ballhandling
Arkansas offense South Carolina defense Advantage
Assist % 60.3% (42nd) 47.9% (46th) Push
Turnover % 16.6% (41st) 21.0% (55th) Push
Assist : Turnover Ratio 1.41 (12th) 0.63 (4th) Push

More resistance is encountered in the ballhandling department. Arkansas has struggled mightily with teams that can force turnovers, giving it away 18, 18, and 16 times in two games with Tennessee and one with Florida, the only real turnover-forcing teams on the Hog schedule so far.

South Carolina offensive overview
South Carolina offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Efficiency 0.98 (187th) 0.97 (133rd) Arkansas
Floor % 47.9% (150th) 46.2% (120th) Push

Arkansas' defense has shown massive improvement over the last couple of games, and has the advantage here. The Gamecocks struggled to score.

South Carolina shooting
South Carolina offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Effective Field Goal % 46.6% (259th) 49.7% (216th) Push
Two Point % 46.8% (209th) 48.3% (197th) Push
Three Point % 30.6% (286th) 35.2% (229th) Arkansas
Three Point Rate 28.8% (294th) 32.5% (127th) -

Here's why. South Carolina is an atrocious shooting team, particularly from beyond the arc. Arkansas should be able to limit points from three-pointers and slow down inside scoring.

South Carolina ballhandling
South Carolina offense Arkansas defense Advantage
Assist % 57.2% (89th) 51.1% (109th) Push
Turnover % 19.7% (220th) 21.6% (37th) Arkansas big
Assist : Turnover Ratio 0.97 (158th) 0.81 (48th) Arkansas

Here's Arkansas' best chance to break this game open. The Gamecocks turn it over frequently and don't respond well to the press. Arkansas has not done as good a job of forcing turnovers in recent games, but should get back on track on Tuesday.

Arkansas South Carolina Advantage
Arkansas offensive 36.4% (16th) 74.5% (48th) Push
Arkansas defensive 71.4% (151st) 34.6% (32nd) Carolina

Carolina offsets its awful shooting (and reinforces its great defense) by being a sound rebounding team. Hog fans have to worry about this turning into an ugly game where South Carolina keeps it close by constantly rebounding its own misses to spoil any Hog momentum.

Arkansas South Carolina Advantage
Arkansas drawing 25.9% (267th) 29.0% (255th) Push
Arkansas committing 24.9% (58th) 28.3% (110th) Push

After the absolutely ridiculous 25 to 7 free throw disparity against Florida, I'm done posting the foul charts for road games, because college basketball referees just call the games however they feel like, regardless of any relationship to reality. Home games have continued to follow a basic pattern, though. Both sides are pushes: Arkansas doesn't draw many fouls and South Carolina commits a ton, while Arkansas rarely commits fouls and South Carolina draws them pretty well.

Keys to the Game

  1. Box out. South Carolina's best chance to overcome bad shooting is to keep getting offensive rebounds. More important than Arkansas getting offensive rebounds is making sure the Gamecocks don't.
  2. Turn this into a full-court game. South Carolina plays at an average pace, faster than the SEC average, but not too fast. They turn it over and get out of position when made to hurry up, and Arkansas' athleticism and depth gives the Hogs a major advantage in a fast game.
  3. Someone please make a three pointer. After a 0-of-4 shooting performance in a game where his shooting was desperately needed, it may be time to give up on Anthlon Bell being a consistent offensive contributor. He's always good for an Indiana State-like outburst every now and then, but he's a career 33 percent three-point shooter. Expect Anton Beard to take his minutes going forward. Michael Qualls has been in a major funk since his 30-point outburst against Alabama, and he, Beard, and Rashad Madden are the best opportunities to break out from beyond the arc.