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Game #19: Texas A&M @ Arkansas Preview

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NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M @ Arkansas Preview

Opponent: Texas A&M Aggies
Date: Saturday, January 22, 2022
Time: 7:30PM CDT
Place: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 104-58
All-Time Series in Fayetteville: Arkansas Leads 59-15

These teams met 14 days ago and it was a roller coaster ride. Arkansas the game extremely well and looked like the better team for the first 10 minutes then A&M settled. Arkansas’ effort waned and the turnovers began to pile up.

A&M then dominated the game over the next 22 minutes. The Aggies would lead by as many as 17, but then Arkansas began playing with energy again. The lead dwindled, but it was too little, too late. A&M would win by 5.

Now I don’t want to take away from A&M. They made some really tough, timely shots in the game. They forced a lot of turnovers and took advantage of those opportunities.

With that said, the biggest issue, among several, for Arkansas this year has been effort and energy. When the Razorbacks were playing with intensity defensively and moving the ball on offense, they were clearly the better team by a decent margin.

During this winning streak, the Hogs have played 5 of the 6 halves with great energy. The lone exception was the first half against South Carolina when the Hogs played zero defense against a team that really struggles to score. SC scored 40 in that first half, but scored less than 20 in the 2nd.

You get my point. When Arkansas plays like they care, they are pretty good. Offensively, they get lazy with no pass possessions or unnecessary heat checks from 30 feet. What’s wild is that Arkansas leads the nation in FTM, but I feel they could be more aggressive about getting into the paint.

A&M had their first difficult game on Wednesday at home against Kentucky. Reed Arena was rocking and A&M played a very good game. They even led for a large portion of the game. You have to wonder how they respond today. From Arkansas’ perspective, that game went exactly as you hoped. High intensity, close game, but hard to swallow loss in the end. Now the Aggies will face the toughest environment they have all year against a team that is playing much better.

J.D. Notae had 31 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in the first game. Jaylin Williams had a strong performance as well. Au’Diese Toney has played great basketball of late and I see him as a breakout player today.

I like Arkansas today. A&M is no slouch. They play hard and they play defense. Like the first matchup, turnovers will be key. Who can limit them? Who can take advantage of the ones you force? Arkansas hasn’t been the best team in transition, but they need to be today.

With a win today, I think we can say Arkansas is back in the NCAA Tournament conversation. Most Bracketologists has the Hogs just on the outside looking in. A loss drops the way back. A win has them right there on the bubble.

Prediction: Arkansas 75, Texas A&M 68