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PREVIEW: Oral Roberts @ Arkansas

J.T. Wampler

Opponent: Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
Date: Sunday, December 20
Time: 1:00PM
Place: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas Leads 10-2

Arkansas and Oral Roberts feature a 12-game series history since the schools are just 2 hours apart. The most recent matchup was in December of 2017 when the Razorbacks won the game, 104-69. 6 Arkansas players were in double figures, but were led by Jaylen Barford who had 18 points on 8-9 shooting with 5 steals.

The Golden Eagles (3-4)

Oral Roberts enters Sunday’s game as a program on the rise. Paul Mills took over a team that won 8 games. Scott Sutton had been in Tulsa as the Head Coach for 18 seasons. Mills has established an identity and culture to get the Golden Eagles back to a winning record in 2019-20.

Picked to finish 2nd in The Summit League, Oral Roberts has played an extremely tough schedule so far. Their 4 losses have come at the hands of Missouri, Wichita St., Oklahoma St., and Oklahoma. The losses to Oklahoma and Wichita St. were only by 5 points. Their 3 wins came against non-DI opponents.

The Golden Eagles are led by Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor. Abmas averages 21.2 points, 5.0 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He also shoots 47.9% from 3.

Obanor is a 6-8 stretch 4 averaging at a 17.3 points and 8.7 rebounds with 39.3% from 3.

ORU loves to let it fly. They are 4th in the nation in 3PA at 34.3 and 3rd in 3PM at 12.7 per game.

Former Arkansas walk-on and Forrest City native R.J. Glasper is playing his final year of college basketball for ORU. He spent 1 season in Fayetteville as a walk-on and redshirted as a result of a shoulder injury. He then transferred to Arkansas Tech where he played 3 seasons and will not finish his career back at the Division I level with ORU. Glasper has started all 7 games for the Golden Eagles. He’s averaging 8.7 points.

The Razorbacks (6-0)

Arkansas is coming off of an 8-day layoff. Eric Musselman has been adamant that he prefers games over practices. That is a rarity in basketball. Coaches always talk about how much they love practice. Musselman wants to compete. He’ll get his chance with 2 games in 3 days.

This Oral Roberts team will really test the Arkansas 3-point defense. The Razorbacks led the nation in 3-ponit defense last season. They have been really solid this season holding teams to just 28.2% shooting from deep.

Where Arkansas needs to take advantage on offense is at the free throw line. Oral Roberts sends opposing teams to the charity stripe 21.9 times per game. The Razorbacks got to the free throw line at a high rate early in the season, but they have dropped off a bit. Attack the basket, use your length, and get some freebies.

With such a short turnaround before the Abilene Christian game on Tuesday afternoon, Arkansas needs to take care of business early. Get Justin Smith going again, set up some 3 pointers for Connor Vanover, and continue to run offense though Moses Moody.

Prediction: Arkansas 87, Oral Roberts 65