Opponent: Abilene Christian Wildcats
Date: Tuesday, December 22
Place: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: First Matchup
The Wildcats (7-1)
Abilene Christian is a really good basketball team. Do not overlook this them, Hog fans! The Wildcats have beaten every mid-major team they have faced and only lost by 7 to Texas Tech on the road. The Red Raiders were held to just 51 points. That type of defense is what ACU has enforced all season by giving up 55.8 points per game which ranks 10th in the nation.
The offensive attack from the Wildcats has been very balanced with no player averaging in double digits. ACU does have 3 players averaging 9 points per game. 3 of the 5 starters are 6-0 or smaller for ACU. One would think with a backcourt that small ACU would struggle on defense, but the Wildcats are forcing 23.9 turnovers a game. They also hold opponents to 25.0% from 3 which ranks 14th in the country.
The Wildcats have some size though. Kolton Kohl is 7 feet tall and averages 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in just 17 minutes per game. 6-8 Joe Pleasant tallies 9.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
The Razorbacks (7-0)
Arkansas will take the floor just over 48 hours after needing a comeback to beat Oral Roberts on Sunday afternoon. The Razorbacks were down 11 at halftime after poor shooting, poor defense, and 9 turnovers.
What has become a concerning trend is the team’s inability to finish at the rim. In Sunday’s game, there were 10-16 points left on the board as the team missed easy attempts at the rim.
Moses Moody continues to be efficient. The freshman phenom is shooting 50.0% from the field, 38.7% from 3 and 80.0% from the free throw line. He’s now averaging 16.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game.
Seeing how the Razorbacks struggled with turnovers just 2 days ago causes worry. This is a classic trap game. A 2 day turnaround, 3 days before Christmas, and SEC play looming. Arkansas has had 2 straight games where the start was very poor. ACU is the best team the Razorbacks have faced so far. You can’t continue to start poorly and hope to overcome it time and time again. It is playing with fire.
I’ll take the Hogs today. I think their length and athleticism will give the ACU’s guards problems on both sides of the ball.