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GAME #16: Missouri @ Arkansas

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NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Texas A&M Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri @ Arkansas Preview

Opponent: Missouri Tigers
Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2021
Time: 8:00PM CDT
Place: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 30-26
All-Time Series in Fayetteville: Arkansas leads 17-10

The Tigers 7-7 (1-1)

Against all odds, Missouri got a monster win against Alabama on Saturday. This Tigers team had scored 68 points or less eight different times this season, but exploded for 92 points on the Tide. Like I said, against all odds.

Kobe Brown was magnificent. 32 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists. He truly is a do it all type player for Cuonzo Martin. This development from last year to this year is pretty incredible. He’s at 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.

Finding consistent contributors behind Brown has been a problem all year for Martin. 10 different players have started a game. 9 have started 3 or more. I was pretty spot on with my prediction of Missouri this year. I just didn’t see all these mid-major transfers moving up to high-major basketball smoothly. That’s what has happened.

We all thought Arkansas was poor from 3 and defending the 3, but they have met their match. Missouri ranks 352nd in 3-point percentage and 332nd in opponent’s 3-point percentage. Not one player in the regular rotation is shooting above 30% from deep.

Missouri will rely on Brown for everything. He will need a lot of paint touches and to stay out of foul trouble for the Tigers to win this one.

The Razorbacks 10-5 (0-3)

I genuinely cannot believe we are here. I can’t believe we are at this point. The Hogs have lost 5 out of 6 and have started 0-3 in SEC play for the first time since 2008-09. It’s only the 4th time in the last 50 years Arkansas has done that. Thinking back to the pre-season, I just can’t believe it.

These talented pieces that Eric Musselman has brought together have simply not fit. Roles have never fallen into place well. The players Musselman hoped would develop into point guards have not. Other players can’t crack the rotation. Consistency is an issue.

We thought this would be a team of 3-point shooters. We thought there were snipers all over the roster. It just hasn’t happened this year. Who is to blame? The player certainly take part in some blame. Ultimately, it is up to them to make shots, etc. Several of them were solid shooters had previous schools, but have not been good this year. Other players seemed to have regressed. The coaching staff must take blame because they believed this roster fit was going to be successful. None of that matters right now though. There’s too much basketball to be played to point fingers right now.

If there was ever a time to play arguably the worst team in the conference at home, it would be now. Arkansas needs to win this game. If you lose to this Missouri team at home then you may can put a bow on this season. Just call it done.

What’s been encouraging through 3 games of SEC play is that this Arkansas team has great spurts. The ball movement will be better than it has been all season for 8-12 minute stretches. They will play harder than they have since Kansas City.

Arkansas must play a complete game. The first 12 minutes at A&M were awesome to watch. The next 20 were embarrassing and lazy. Then the Hogs closed the game.

If the Razorbacks can play really good basketball for 30-35 minutes then they will win this game by 10 plus. I think they do it. This is just the team the Hogs need to face right now.

Prediction: Arkansas 80, Missouri 67