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GAME #32: LSU vs. Arkansas Round 3

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

LSU vs. Arkansas Preview

Opponent: Tennessee Volunteers
Date: Friday, March 11, 2022
Time: 1:30PM CDT
Place: Amalie Arena, Tampa Bay, Florida
TV/Streaming: ESPN
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 40-34
All-Time Series at a Neutral Site: LSU leads 7-5
All-Time Series at the SEC Tournament: LSU leads 3-2

The Tigers – 22-10

Since their heartbreaking loss in Fayetteville, LSU has beaten Alabama in overtime and cruised to a win over Missouri yesterday. This team is really starting to click again as Pinson is fully healthy. He just means so much to this team.

Something that stood in Day 2 of the SEC Tournament was how whistle happy the officials were in each game. It made game after game drag on. This is something to keep an eye on as LSU plays extremely aggressive defense and Arkansas leads the nation in free throw attempts.

A key for LSU will be getting the Arkansas star duo into foul trouble. Tari Eason was able to foul out Jaylin Williams at the end of the game in Fayetteville. Somehow, the Hogs were still able to win the game.

LSU needs to play smarter too. They are extremely talented. They very athletic. Basketball IQ is a different story. The Tigers should have won that game in Fayetteville, but they made crucial errors at the end of the game. Yesterday’s win over Missouri should have been by 15+ points, but Mizzou nearly cut it to 6 with under a minute. You can’t play that way this time of year against good competition.

Darius Days will be a huge reason why LSU wins or loses this game. I have posted the stats before. If LSU wins over Arkansas, he usually has an amazing game. If they lose to Arkansas, he is nowhere to found.

The Razorbacks – 24-7

Arkansas is still riding high from an incredible run through February. They did lose in Knoxville this past Saturday to end the season, but that was easy to see coming. Tennessee was unbeaten at home and extra motivated for revenge against the Hogs. Add in that Arkansas was missing their best defender in Au’Diese Toney and it was the perfect storm. The Vols led by 21 at half, but Arkansas came storm back to get within 2. The Hogs would lose by 4, but to show that kind of fight in a rabid environment was impressive

One of the keys to Arkansas win is obviously the health of Au’Diese Toney. Based on social media posts over the last 24 hours, it seems he is no longer in a walking boot and did take part in shootaround Thursday morning.

The Tennessee game showed just how important Toney is to Arkansas. His defensive prowess was definitely missed as the Tennessee guards and wings had their way early in that game.

Another key will be rebounding. Arkansas has not been doing that as well lately. The last time these teams met LSU had 22 offensive rebounds which led to 21 second chance points for the Tigers. Kentucky also had their way on the boards in BWA.

The last key will be taking care of the ball. Arkansas had just 12 turnovers against them last time, but 9 of them were steals. LSU leads the nation in steals. The live ball turnovers can turn into easy fast break points for a team that is athletic.

The Hogs must do better today if they want to win this game. You won’t have a raucous BWA crowd behind you.

With Toney’s availability in question, I think LSU wins. Even if Toney plays, we can’t believe that he is 100%. LSU believes they should have won the last matchup and I think they win today. Just a gut feeling. Hope I am wrong.

Prediction: Arkansas 67, LSU 71