Only 32 teams remain, and the Razorbacks have their eyes on the Sweet 16. Arkansas and Kansas will battle this afternoon to see who will continue into the tournament’s second weekend. Both the Razorbacks and Jayhawks have talented rosters, setting up a dandy for this Round of 32 matchup.
Date: Saturday, March 18, 2023
Time: 4:15 pm
Place: Wells Fargo Arena - Des Moines, IA TV/Streaming: CBS
Line: KU -3
The Hogs dominated almost every aspect of Thursday’s opening-round game against Illinois. While the game was ugly, the Razorbacks improved in many categories that plagued the group during the final stretch of the regular season. Arkansas’ free throw percentage was among the improvements, especially down the stretch. The group finished 22-29 (75.9%) from the stripe, with Ricky Council leading the way.
Today, the Hogs must continue their defensive effort to advance. Arkansas strung together several strong defensive possessions against the Illini. Defense leading to offense can go a long way in wearing down Kansas’ talented backcourt. Additionally, the Hogs had several high-percentage looks that led to an easy bucket of free-throw opportunities. Consistent aggression can be a considerable advantage for Arkansas today.
The top-seeded Jayhawks eliminated Howard in the first round on Thursday. Kansas’ success this season is largely due to the play of their backcourt. Jalen Wilson, Gradey Dick, and Kevin Mccullar Jr. play as long guards who can score and rebound at a high rate. Additionally, KJ Adams is a versatile forward who will create a matchup decision for Eric Musselman and his staff.
The Jayhawks and Razorbacks matchup well, creating an opportunity for another Rock fight type of game. The game will swing in Kansas’ favor if the Jayhawks eliminate dribble drives and second- chance opportunities for the Hogs. Alternatively, the Razorbacks will find success with more intense effort on defense and on the glass. Overall, the turnover battle will be a telling factor as both teams struggled in the category during the opening round.
•Kansas coach Bill Self missed the team’s opening-round game due to illness. It is undetermined if Self will return today.
•Eric Musselman led his team to an upset of overall number one seed Gonzaga a season ago. Can he repeat the same magic again?
•An Arkansas victory will solidify three consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for the Razorbacks.