This is March. It's pretty sooieet. pic.twitter.com/fcrhYJBCd8— Arkansas Razorbacks Men’s Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) March 23, 2023
It’s a big day for the Razorbacks as Eric Musselman’s group has returned to the Sweet 16 with a chance at another Elite 8. Saturday’s win over top-seeded Kansas was monumental in many ways.
It’s fun to think about how dangerous this team can be with a bit of confidence, and the Hogs gained that confidence boost by knocking off the Jayhawks.
Now, the UConn Huskies stand in the way. UConn is a national title favorite for many across the country due to its size and perimeter shooting. The Hogs have their work cut out for them but don’t count out this resilient group from Fayetteville.
Date: Thursday, March 23, 2023
Time: 6:15 pm
Place: T-Mobile Arena - Las Vegas, NV
Line: CONN -4
The keys for Arkansas are to speed up the pace and penetrate to create open shots. Again, we saw what the Hogs could do when emphasizing shot selection. Ricky Council and Devo Davis got to the hoop consistently against Kansas on Saturday. It will be challenging for the Huskies to keep the Hogs down if they continue this trend by including Nick Smith Jr. and Anthony Black. A similar performance from Ricky Council, both off the drive and at the free-throw stripe, will be pivotal for the Razorbacks down the stretch.
UConn creates more matchup conversations for Arkansas due to its size and increased depth. Playing with defensive intensity and competing on the boards will be huge for the Razorbacks. But, above all else, the Hogs must continue doing the little things right. Their effort was tremendous against Kansas, eliminating second-chance points for the Jayhawks and extending plays for themselves with all-out effort. The performances of Devo, Jordan Walsh, and Kamani Johnson will go a long way in creating a spark for the Razorbacks tonight. Look for the Hogs to inhabit the mentality of Devo Davis after his tremendous performance on Saturday.
The Huskies entered the tournament as a four-seed—victories over Iona and St. Mary’s created momentum for Dan Hurley’s group. UConn is a team with size and depth. Adama Sanogo is a physical force in the Husky frontcourt capable of dominating the interior. I expect a combination of the Mitchell twins and Kamani to limit Sanogo’s production. Additionally, UConn has arguably the best long-range shooter in the field. Jordan Hawkins can create his shot and consistently knock down the deep ball. Overall, the Hogs and Huskies match up similarly in the backcourt, making what should be a fun contest between each team’s guards.
UConn will succeed in this game by eliminating Arkansas’ plan to speed things up. Arkansas has been much improved in fast-break points in the postseason and will surely try to capitalize in the open court tonight. The Huskies tallied 14 turnovers against St Mary’s, a stat the Hogs can take advantage of in this one.
It should be another back-and-forth matchup. There are no easy matchups for anyone at this point in the season. Go Hogs!