We’ve still got plenty of time until tip-off (last 9 p.m. game of the season!), so let’s spend it getting to know about Kentucky’s foe tonight, the Arkansas Razorbacks.
1. They’re part of a massive tie for third in the SEC
Arkansas is one of four teams with an 8-6 record in the SEC right now, but due to tiebreakers, they’d draw the fifth seed if the SEC Tournament started today. Kentucky’s currently slated to be a seven seed, but a win tonight would keep them in the race for the all-important double-bye (for more on that, check out BTI’s post from earlier.)
2. They’ve won four of their last five by double-digits
After losing to LSU for the second time this season, Arkansas rallied to win four straight, beating South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and No. 21 Texas A&M at home by an average margin of 15.8 points.
3. They beat Texas A&M by 19
One week after beating Kentucky by 11 in College Station, No. 21 Texas A&M lost to Arkansas by 19 in Fayetteville. The Aggie frontcourt that pushed Kentucky around in the post couldn’t stop Daniel Gafford, Arkansas’ three-time SEC Freshman of the Week winner. Gafford avenged a terrible performance vs. A&M earlier this year with an impressive 18-point outing off 7-8 shooting. He’s shooting 62.3% from the floor, which is fourth among all freshmen in the country.
This is Daniel Gafford, goes to @BPortistime‘s alum Arkansas. Currently projected in the range of our NOP pick. Definitely an intriguing Center option outside of the top 10. #BullsNation pic.twitter.com/VfBFI1pB7C
— Bulls Scripted (@BullScripted) February 11, 2018
4. Gafford has 54 dunks this season
I wrote a whole post about that earlier today, but it’s worth repeating that Gafford has more dunks that four teams in the league. Containing him will be a major test for Nick Richards tonight.
5. The guy with the streak in his hair is still there
Jaylen Barford, aka the guy with the white streak in his hair, leads the Razorbacks in scoring with 18.6 points per game. Not only does he rank first in the SEC in three-point field goal percentage (44.6%), he’s second in points per game and fifth in overall field goal percentage (48.9%).
6. They start four seniors
Gafford’s the only player in Arkansas’ starting lineup that’s not a senior. Barford, Daryl Macon, Anton Beard, and Dustin Thomas round out the Razorback’s starting five, and the backcourt duo of Barford and Macon is especially deadly. The two combined for 61 points in Arkansas’ upset over No. 19 Tennessee back on December 30, and the Razorbacks are 6-0 when the two both score 20 or more points in the same game.
7. Barford and Macon are the most accurate three-point shooters in the league
Barford and Macon are first and second in the SEC in three-point field goal percentage, with 44.6% and 43.4%, respectively. As a result, the Razorbacks are the most efficient three-point shooting team in the SEC, averaging 40% from behind the arc.
8. None of their seniors have beaten Kentucky
Kentucky hasn’t lost to Arkansas since February 27, 2014, meaning all the players from that team are gone. Since then, all we’ve done is win, win, win (win, win).
|3/12/2017||(#8) Kentucky vs. Arkansas||W||82 – 65||SEC Tournament Championship (at Nashville, TN)|
|1/7/2017||Arkansas at (#6) Kentucky||W||97 – 71||–|
|1/21/2016||(#23) Kentucky at Arkansas||W||80 – 66||–|
|3/15/2015||(#1) Kentucky vs. (#21) Arkansas||W||78 – 63||SEC Tournament Championship (at Nashville, TN)|
|2/28/2015||(#18) Arkansas at (#1) Kentucky||W||84 – 67||–|
Interestingly, because only one of those games took place in Bud Walton Arena, the Razorbacks can still claim a 3-1 record vs. the Cats in the last four games in Fayetteville.
9. They’re 14-1 at home this season
Their only home loss is a fluky 21-point drubbing by LSU back on January 10.
10. Mike Anderson still doesn’t like John Calipari
He might not ever come out and say it, but Anderson’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-them postgame handshakes with Calipari over the years indicate some deep-seated resentment. From 2016:
— Jay Hargrove (@WKyPT) January 22, 2016
If Anderson can’t knock off Calipari and Kentucky this season, he might just strangle him with his pocket square.