Time: 6 p.m. CT
Line: Texas -6.5, O/U: 150
Location: Fort Bliss, El Paso, TX
Basketball is back and the Hogs are starting the year with an interesting test. They’ll get a neutral court matchup against Texas, a team that is expected to be in contention for an NCAA Tournament spot this year. We’ll get a good sense of how far along this new group of players are really quickly.
This is the five Arkansas went with in their two exhibition games, so far there’s been no reason to think Mike Anderson is going to switch things up. Isaiah Joe is the only freshman starting but plenty of them will have playing time. Joe gets a tough matchup to start with Kerwin Roach II, who missed Texas’ opener due to a suspension. It will be an interesting test against some tough competition for the first time. Daniel Gafford likely gets the defensive assignment on Dylan Osetkowski, but that could create a mismatch in favor of Preseason All-Big 12 pick Jericho Sims, so he may get some time on him as well.
3 Key Stats
It’s really hard to understate how much production this Arkansas team is replacing. Not even 20% of last year’s minutes are returning. Gafford is the only major scorer returning and he’s more known for his defensive abilities. Arkansas will need to take advantage of the Tempo of the game, something that despite Shaka Smart having a reputation for his Havoc style of play, the numbers didn’t really back up for Texas. Arkansas will have to also be very safe with the ball. With a lot of new ball handlers, turnovers could be an issue that wasn’t there last year due to having two excellent senior guards on the ball almost the entire season. They turned the ball over more than they should have in their exhibition games and will need to keep reducing those numbers as the season goes on.