PG — Marquis Teague vs. Julysses Nobles
It’s not often that you see a guard shoot 35% from the field, but Julysses Nobles has managed to do that so far this season and Arkansas fans aren’t happy about it. While his shooting is subpar, his forte is running the team, and he does that well. Nobles leads the Razorbacks in assists and he’s been the team MVP through Arkansas’s first three SEC games. Julysses (meaning “more than one July”) is averaging 17 points on 51% shooting in conference play.
For Kentucky, Teague will look to utilize his explosiveness in the fast-paced game. After last night’s practice, he said that’s the way he likes to play. “I know that’s how we like to play,” he said. “So that’s what I feel is a strength for our team. With a team with all different guys that make plays, with more opportunities it just equals more points for somebody.”
SG — Darius Miller/Doron Lamb vs. Mardracus Wade
With Lamb’s recent struggles, Darius Miller could get his third consecutive start over Kentucky’s leading scorer. Lamb is averaging 14 per game for UK but he only scored four points on 1-of-7 shooting against Tennessee. On top of that, he’s only hit six of his last 20 three-point attempts in Kentucky’s last six games.
On the other side, Mardracus (Mar-DRE-cus) Wade has hit 13-of-24 three-pointers in his last six games. The self-proclaimed “Wade, No Dwyane” is averaging 11 points per game this season.
SF — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. Rickey Scott
It won’t be easy for 6-foot-3 Rickey Scott, or anyone for that matter, against Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Arkansas’s top four players are 6’3 or shorter and someone is going to have to deal with MKG.
Don’t expect Scott to kill UK with hot shooting, either. He is a very unimpressive 3-for-33 from beyond the arc this season.
He might as well stay on the bus.
PF — Terrence Jones vs. Devonta Abron
Terrence Jones and his less than 100% pinky will be matched up against Devonta Abron, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound freshman out of Dallas. Abron was a third-team Parade All-American last year in his senior season, and he’ll be bringing an aggressive, physical style of play to the paint against Kentucky. He grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, including an absurd 12 offensive rebounds, against No. 8 UConn earlier this season.
Jones, on the other hand, has shown a split-personality this season. Kentucky we’ll need to see the assertive Terrence Jones tonight to counteract the man-child of a power forward he’ll be facing. Abron will eat Jones alive on the boards if Terrence plays a timid game like he’s shown at times this season.
C — Anthony Davis vs. Michael Sanchez
Tonight’s the night Anthony Davis breaks UK’s single season shot blocking record, and he’ll be doing it against a player Marc Maggard said would be better than Patrick Patterson. Michael Sanchez, a former Kentucky target from the class of 2007, is averaging 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Razorbacks this season. Sanchez has started in all 17 games, but don’t expect him to be a major contributor because he’s only playing just over 18 minutes per contest.
Davis only needs one block to tie Andre Riddick and Melvin Turpin for the single season record, and two blocks to own it. He has more blocks than 291 entire teams in Division 1 college basketball this season.
Other Arkansas Notables:
G — B.J. Young
Arkansas’s freshman guard has only started in two games this season, but he’s fourth on the team in minutes played and he’s averaging a team-high 15 points per game. Rated the No. 16 overall player in the 2011 class by ESPN, Young is a dynamic scorer that can play both guard positions. He’s averaging almost 19 points in the last four outings so I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Anderson bumped him into the starting lineup tonight against Kentucky. But regardless of where he starts the game, Young will be the guy to watch for Arkansas tonight.