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Preview and Thread: Hogs Final Test Before SEC Play

One final hurdle before conference play.

NCAA Basketball: Oral Roberts at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The passing of the Holidays means the meat of the Razorbacks’ schedule is coming fast. This week is the beginning of SEC play and a huge game with a ranked Tennessee team, but first comes the task of beating CSU Bakersfield.

More On the Roadrunners

A team that has beaten and lost to some bad teams, CSU Bakersfield hasn’t really competed with the Power 5 schools they’ve faced. They lost by single digits to UCLA but a late run by the Roadrunners made the final score closer than it really was.

Like Oral Roberts, they have no problems slowing down the game, as evidenced by a 55-53 win earlier in the year. Also like Oral Roberts, they likely won’t be able to slow down the Hogs.

Projected Starting 5

Bakersfield isn’t a high scoring team but they are a balanced one. Three of their starters and sixth man Damiyne Durham all average over 10 points per game but no one tops 12 ppg. The thing that will kill the Roadrunners is their lack of size. Aly Moataz is 6’10”, but is 30 pounds lighter than Daniel Gafford. Outside of that no one who gets major minutes is over 6’6”. Arkansas should be able to impose their will in the paint and have a good rebounding night as well.

3 Key Stats

Part of why Bakersfield has been slowing things down and trying to win with a grinding defensive effort, is because they have been incredibly inefficient with their shooting. The Razorbacks on the other hand, have been one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country, which will make things very hard on the Roadrunners. They do like to put some pressure on teams as well, as evidenced by their pretty good turnover percentage numbers.

Overall, this game shouldn’t get as out of hand as the Oral Roberts game did, but it could get close to it. Arkansas isn’t closing the non conference schedule with teams that could challenge for a March Madness spot like the beginning of the year. The Hogs should roll in this one.