Kansas State vs. Arkansas Preview
Opponent: Kansas State Wildcats
Date: Monday, November 22, 2021
Time: 8:00PM CDT
Place: T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, Missouri
All-Time Series: Kansas State leads 8-3
All-Time Series at Neutral Site: Kansas State leads 5-0
The Wildcats (2-0)
The Wildcats of Kansas State enter the Hall Of Fame Classic in a similar state as the Razorbacks. They’ve been a little disappointed with how their season has begun. Like Arkansas, KSU enters this early season tournament undefeated, but not without a scare.
In the season opener, Florida A&M gave Kansas St. all they wanted, but the Wildcats would go on to win the game by 10. KSU looked much better against Omaha in game 2 and won in a blowout.
This team is led by 6 foot point guard Nigel Pack. The sophomore is averaging 16.5 points, 4 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. All while only committing 1 turnover. When he has the ball in his hands, good things happen for the Wildcats. The same cannot be said for the rest of the team. KSU has 33 assists this year to 30 turnovers. Meaning that the Wildcats have 25 assists and 28 turnovers without Pack. He is key to this team.
Hog fans will remember Mark Smith. The veteran who spent 3 years at Missouri is now using his COVID year to play at Kansas State. Smit is the 2nd leading scorer so far and has upped his rebounding game significantly.
Kansas State can throw some size at Arkansas and that explains their slower, more methodical pace. They want to slow it down. This will be battle of the tempos.
The Razorbacks (3-0)
No more messing around for the Hogs. Things get real this week and it is time they shore up the 3-point defense. Kansas State is a great test to see if the Hogs have improved. KSU currently ranks in the top 15 nationally in 3-point percentage, but just inside the top 100 in made threes per game. Meaning, they shoot it really well, but maybe not as often as they should.
Arkansas has to control the pace. Pressure the guards and force turnovers for easy buckets. The Hogs need to convert on those easy opportunities too. That was an issue to begin last season and we have seen it happen again this year. Arkansas has probably left close to 20 points on the floor this season from missed shots around the basket. When the competition goes up a notch, you cannot afford to miss those.
I’m most curious to see how Devo Davis plays this game. His night was court following a flagrant 2 ejection on Wednesday against Northern Iowa. He will depended on defensively. It will be interesting to see how he responds.
Because KSU has more size than Arkansas has seen, rebounding will be extremely important. I also want to see the Razorbacks start the game well. They have to get away from these slow starts. A team like KSU can really shorten the game if they build a lead.
I expect a great game on Monday. Give me the Hogs.
Prediction: Arkansas 73, Kansas State 67