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PREVIEW: Hofstra vs. Arkansas

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Oklahoma Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Hofstra vs. Arkansas Preview

Opponent: Hofstra Pride
Date: Saturday, December 18, 2021
Time: 7:00PM CDT
Place: First Simmons Bank Arena, North Little Rock, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: None
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 2-0
All-Time Series at Neutral Site: Arkansas leads 1-0

The Pride (6-5)

Hofstra is coming into tonight’s game as a better team than their record shows. They have played some tough opponents and given scares to all of them. The Pride went to overtime with Houston before losing and lost to Maryland by 2. They were very competitive with Iona and Richmond.

This team can score! They rank 78th offensive efficiency and 26th in effective FG%. As a team, they are shooting 36.0% from 3. 5 different players average double figures. 5 different players shoot 40.0% or better from 3.

Hog fans will remember Abayomi “Baybe” Iyiola. The forward was one of the first players to transfer to Arkansas in the Musselman era. Iyiola had to sit out due to transfer rules and then suffered an ACL tear that kept him limited to just 1 appearance last season. He played in the final minutes of the South Carolina game and grabbed a rebound for the Hogs.

Iyiola is now starting for Hofstra and is the lone big man on the team. He’s averaging 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds on an incredibly efficient 75.8% shooting. Iyiola has appeared in 7 games while playing 18.3 minutes a game and somehow has not attempted a free throw this year.

Zack Cooks is the heart and soul of this team. He does a little bit of everything. 17.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.2 steals per game is impressive for an undersized point guard.

The Razorbacks (9-1)

Arkansas is back to the drawing board after an embarrassing loss against OU. I was proud of the way the team fought back into the game several times. Just when you thought they were back in it, they went back to their old ways and OU would extend another big lead. It was disheartening, but not surprising. The team just hasn’t looked good yet.

Eric Musselman said this week that the team will be better defending the 3 after OU’s 3-point barrage last Saturday. Hofstra is exactly the team to test that against. They will let it fly and hit on a high rate.

Hofstra is very poor defensively across the board, but especially from 3. As great as they shoot from 3, they are even worse defending it. Teams are shooting 39.3% from deep against the Pride. There have been rumblings that Eric Musselman is making some changes to the rotation on Saturday. Maybe we will see more of K.K. Robinson and Jaxson Robinson. Both of those players can really shoot it and I am sure they’ll have plenty of open opportunities.

The Pride play 1 player 6’8” or taller. I want to see Arkansas attack the basket and dominate the boards for 2nd chance opportunities.

Hofstra will hang around. They’ve given high major teams problems all year. I expect the same on Saturday as Arkansas has a history of not playing well in North Little Rock. Arkansas will win, but it won’t be dominant.

Prediction: Arkansas 86, Hofstra 72