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PREVIEW: Elon @ Arkansas

NCAA Basketball: Hofstra at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Elon @ Arkansas Preview

Opponent: Elon Phoenix
Date: Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Time: 6:00PM CDT
Place: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 1-0
All-Time Series in Fayetteville: Arkansas leads 1-0

The Phoenix (3-9)

This may seem harsh, but Elon may be just the team that Arkansas needs right now.

The Phoenix are 1-9 against Division 1 opponents, but they have faced a tough schedule ranking 25th in SOS. Their lone win came over Winthrop which was an upset.

Elon likes to push the ball like Arkansas. They rank 231st in offensive efficiency. A fast pace and a ton of threes is what we will see on Tuesday night. The Phoenix shoot 26.7 threes per game. They chuck it, but they make a lot too. 36.6% of them. Another bad matchup for Arkansas in that regard.

On the defensive side of the ball, Elon hasn’t been good. 298th in defensive efficiency. A big factor in that abysmal defensive efficiency is defending the 3. Elon ranks 350th(!) in opponent 3-point percentage. Teams are hitting 40.7% of threes against them. Yes, that’s worse than Arkansas.

The scoring attack is pretty balanced across the board for Elon. This isn’t about stopping 1 guy. Hunter McIntosh and Zac Ervin are the biggest threats from deep. McIntosh has made 28 threes this season and Ervin has made 27. Former Missouri guard Torrence Watson has made of his own.

The Razorbacks (9-2)

This has turned sour. Totally sour. Arkansas played with very little effort and energy on Saturday night in North Little Rock. Just a rotten game all around. No perimeter defense, poor offensive execution, bad rebounding, and momentum-killing turnovers.

What we feared about this team has seem to come true. They just aren’t good...right now. Maybe they figure some things out. Maybe some guys step up. Maybe new rotations and lineups can fix things. I’m not confident they can, but I know Eric Musselman has one it before.

In regards to tonight’s game. Arkansas has to start better. These slow starts get the crowd out of it and cause an uneasiness with everyone. It has to effect the players too.

I want to see Arkansas dominate the boards again, hit some threes, and get to the paint because Elon is a team without size. On the defensive end, Arkansas must do a better job of defending on the perimeter. Everyone has noticed and talked about how the 3-point defense has been terrible, but the inability to stop dribble penetration has been the main culprit. Getting beat off the dribble has caused help to come and then there be no rotation to recover. It must be fixed.

I think we will see more changes with the lineups tonight. After Saturday’s loss, Musselman said that they had no idea what they were going to do. That leads me to believe anything and everything is on the table. We’ll see.

Elon’s ability to shoot from deep will keep this one closer than it should be, but Arkansas will have too much talent for the Phoenix.

Prediction: Arkansas 85, Elon 71