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Preview and Thread: Hogs Look To Close Tournament With Win Against UConn

A 2-1 finish in Portland Would Be A Big Success.

Duke University v University of Texas Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Where: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.

When: 2 p.m. CT

TV: ESPN

The Hogs have a chance to go 2-1 in the PK80 Tournament with a game against UConn. The Huskies got to this point with a mild upset over Oregon followed by falling to Michigan State. The two teams have had their first two games in remarkably similar ways, but as we’ll point out, they are very different teams.

More On The Huskies

Like the Hogs, UConn is 4-1 on the year. Before playing in PK80, they had three wins at home and none were terribly convincing. But Kevin Ollie has a pretty inexperienced team that has talent and is capable of hitting the Hogs in the mouth if they aren’t ready.

Projected Starting 5

Adrio Bailey hasn’t been the flashiest part of this start, but his play has been quietly very solid and he’s been very deserving of his starting role. I’m keeping Trey Thompson in the starting role over Daniel Gafford until he can prove he can stay out of foul trouble. He’ll get there sooner rather than later, but in this game Arkansas can’t be making a sub three minutes into the game due to Gafford’s second foul.

One thing that could hurt Arkansas in this game is UConn’s length. Tyler Polley, Terry Larrier, and Eric Cobb are all listed as 6’8” or taller. Simple math means Daryl Macon or Jaylen Barford will need to guard one, that matchup is giving up at least six inches for the Hogs.

UConn’s leading scorer is Jalen Adams but Larrier is right behind. UConn will rely on those two to score much in the same way Arkansas looks to Macon and Barford to lead the way. Whoever can get their secondary scorers in a groove will have a huge advantage in this one.

3 Key Stats

Both teams are very solid defensive teams. Even after facing North Carolina and Michigan State, the two still have some of the better efficiency numbers in the country. They do it in very different ways, as evidenced by the pace numbers. UConn wants to slow you down, suffocate you, and force you into taking bad shots. The Hogs want to get you out of control and force turnovers.

While UConn wants to turn you into an inefficient shooting team, Arkansas has done a solid job with their shooting. Effective FG% weighs three point shots more and Arkansas (mostly Daryl Macon) have done a very good job from outside. If he is healthy and feeling his shot, Arkansas will certainly be favorites. If Macon isn’t able to go, or isn’t effective, then UConn may have the advantage in this one.

Arkansas is favored in this one, and UConn is probably slightly below Oklahoma in terms of talent. But this game provides a unique style for Arkansas to play against, and doing so while playing against a quality opponent, which is exactly why you sign up for tournaments like PK80.