After heading home with a loss in Columbia last week, the Kentucky Wildcats are looking to bounce back on the road this afternoon at Arkansas.
The Razorbacks head into the matchup with a 14-2 overall record, including a 3-1 start in conference play.
But what else do you need to know about the Razorbacks?
Arkansas currently maintains the No. 3 overall spot in the SEC and the second-best record overall, second to only Auburn (15-1, 3-1). Through their first 16 games, the Razorbacks have taken home victories over the likes of Georgia Tech, Indiana on the road, Texas A&M, Ole Miss on the road, and Vanderbilt.
Their losses? At WKU (86-79) and at LSU (79-77).
The quality wins aren’t necessarily there, but their lone bad loss is against the Hilltoppers. Not a bad total body of work.
Individually, junior guard Mason Jones leads the team with 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per contest, including shooting numbers of 46.1% from the field overall and 32.2% from three.
Right behind Jones is sophomore guard Isaiah Joe, who is putting up 17.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game, including a 35.8% shooting clip from three on a ridiculous 11 attempts per contest. On the top end, the 6-foot-5 guard has put up three-point attempt totals of 17, 15, 14, 14, 13, and 13 this season alone. As a freshman, Joe averaged 41.4% from three.
Senior guard Jimmy Whitt Jr. is also putting up 14.8 points per game on 53.4% shooting to go with 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 steals. In a complete turnaround from Joe, though, Whitt has attempted (and missed) just one 3-pointer this season. The senior guard operates entirely inside the perimeter.
Think that was the last guard averaging double-digits? Think again. Sophomore guard Desi Sills also averages 10.0 PPG to go with 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per contest in 30.7 minutes.
So what about the frontcourt? Forward Adrio Bailey is Arkansas’ lone “big man” (he only stands 6-foot-6) averaging over five points per game, with the Clarence, LA product putting up 6.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game.
Outside of Bailey, no other members of the frontcourt are averaging more than 3.7 points or 3.2 rebounds. There also isn’t a player on the roster standing taller than 6-foot-8.
If you’re looking for an advantage, you could certainly find one down low if Nick Richards, EJ Montgomery, and Nate Sestina step up.
Arkansas is favored by 1.5 points
Heading on over to the handy dandy Bovada website, the Razorbacks are holding firm as 1.5-point favorites over Kentucky this afternoon after originally opening up as one-point favorites on Friday afternoon.
The money line is set at Arkansas -125/Kentucky +105, while the over/under stands at 137.5.
In their last five games, the Razorbacks have covered the spread four times, while the Wildcats have covered just three times in that span. Over the last ten, Arkansas has covered five times, while Kentucky has covered four.
Matchup predictors favor the Razorbacks
Over on ESPN, Arkansas is believed to have a 65.5% chance to win over Kentucky (34.5%).
The NumberFire prediction also expects the Razorbacks to pull off a 71.3-66.8 average win, with Arkansas picking up 54% of the spread consensus pick.
Meanwhile, KenPom gives the Hogs a 61% chance of winning, with a final score prediction of 69-66.
The money and predictions are coming in on Arkansas.
It’s going to be a rowdy one this afternoon…
Early this morning, Arkansas Associate Director of Marketing Chase Miller released a video of the student line outside Bud Walton Arena, and to no one’s surprise, it’s absolutely nuts already.
According to Miller, the first student got in line at 4:30 a.m. CT to get ready for the Cats vs. the Razorbacks on Saturday afternoon.
Take a look at the line:
— Chase Miller (@Chase_Miller88) January 18, 2020
After falling short in a hostile environment on Wednesday afternoon, they’ll have to turn things around in yet another difficult matchup on the road in conference play.
The players got stuck in a Razorback-infested room
If the crowd isn’t going to be bad enough on Saturday, the Kentucky players were forced to sleep with a Razorback watching over them in their beds last night.
In an Instagram story posted by UK walk-on Zan Payne, the hotel the team is staying in is decked out in bright red headboards on the bed and a stuffed Razorback up on the wall in-between.
Take a look:
Can we talk about the decor in @KentuckyMBB team hotel in Fayetteville?
The players don’t seem to love it. pic.twitter.com/Tv2mY2KNrc
— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerRadio) January 18, 2020
The college basketball schedule is a fun one
Looking for something to watch outside of Kentucky vs. Arkansas?
We’ve got you covered.
- (2) Baylor at Oklahoma State – 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
- UCONN at (14) Villanova – 12 p.m. ET (FS1)
- (18) Seton Hall at St. John’s – 12 p.m. ET (FOX)
- (21) Ohio State at Penn State – 12 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
- (9) Florida State at Miami – 1 p.m. ET (ACCN)
- (4) Auburn at Florida – 1:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
- (6) Kansas at Texas – 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- (12) West Virginia at Kansas State – 2 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
- Purdue at (17) Maryland – 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
- (8) Oregon at Washington – 3:45 p.m. ET (CBS)
- Houston at (16) Wichita State – 4 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
- Iowa State at (23) Texas Tech – 4 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
- Providence at (25) Creighton – 4:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
- Northwestern at (24) Illinois – 5 p.m. ET (BTN)
- (11) Louisville at (3) Duke – 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Nevada at (7) SDSU – 8 p.m. ET (CBSSN)
- BYU at (1) Gonzaga – 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Tip for the Kentucky vs. Arkansas game is set for 4:00 p.m. ET in Fayetteville on ESPN.