Today marks the season’s last game inside Bud Walton Arena and the last opportunity for the Razorbacks to steal a win before the postseason starts. Kentucky is in town to battle with the Razorbacks, and the two storied programs find themselves in unfamiliar, desperate territory.
The Wildcats and Hogs are fresh off embarrassing losses during the midweek slate. Kentucky fell at home to a middle-of-the-pack Vanderbilt team, while Arkansas was run out of the gym in Knoxville on Tuesday night. Each team has experienced small streaks of success but has underperformed this season. Today presents a matchup that can catapult the winner into March with some momentum while potentially leaving the loser destined for a tough seed in the NCAA Tournament. Let’s see what happens today, Hog fans.
The Razorbacks lost in all facets of the game to the Volunteers on Tuesday night. Ultimately, the inability to drive the paint and rebound defensively was the most puzzling of the losing effort. The Hogs now find themselves in another must-win situation, as today presents the last quad one opportunity of the regular season before the SEC Tournament starts next week.
Today presents a chance to write an unusual chapter in the Arkansas and Kentucky rivalry, as each team needs a late-season victory. The Hogs sucked when playing around the rim and must reestablish that advantage today. There were too many times in Tuesday night’s matchup where the Hogs settled for a jump shot rather than capitalizing on their length. Much like this season’s first matchup with Kentucky, the Hogs need to utilize the fast break and interior penetration led by Anthony Black, to get back on track today.
After developing a winning streak and cracking the AP Top 25 again, the Wildcats lost a puzzling home matchup to Vanderbilt earlier this week. Today, Kentucky will likely be without key contributor Cason Wallace due to an injury suffered during the Vanderbilt loss. Wallace averages around 12 points and four assists this season. The absence of Wallace should allow the Razorbacks to focus even more on limiting the production of Oscar Tshiebwe, which they did well in the previous matchup.
The Hogs enter today projected by many as a 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament