Monday, January 13, 2014

Kentucky vs Arkansas....A Preview

Kentucky vs Arkansas….1/14/14 Tuesday 9PM (TV-ESPN)
UK leads the series 25-9

Arkansas Razorbacks

Location: Fayetteville, Ark.
Enrollment: 24,537
Arena: 19,200

Head Coach: Mike Anderson
Career Record: 237-124 (65.7%) 11 Seasons
At Arkansas: 37-27 (57.8%) 2 Seasons

2012-13 Record: 19-13
2012-13 SEC Record: 10-8
2012-13 Postseason: None

2013-14 Record: 11-4
2013-14 SEC Record: 0-2

Arkansas 99 SIU-Edwardsville 65
Arkansas 76 Louisiana 63
Arkansas 89 SMU 78
California 85 Arkansas 77
Arkansas 87 Minnesota 73
Gonzaga 91 Arkansas 81
Arkansas 111 Southeastern Louisiana 65
Arkansas 74 Clemson 68
Arkansas 72 Savannah State 43
Arkansas 102 Tennessee-Martin 56
Arkansas 72 South Alabama 60
Arkansas 89 High Point 48
Arkansas 104 UTSA 71
Texas A&M 69 Arkansas 53
Florida 84 Arkansas 82 (OT)

Arkansas Stats:

PPG-84.5
FG%-47.6%
3 PT%-36.4% (7.3 PG)
FT%-70.2%
RPG-38.1 (+1.3)
APG-16.7
TPG-12.1
SPG-8.2
BPG-5.9

Probable Starting Lineup:

Rashad Madden-G 6’5” Jr………………………….11.2 PPG
Rickey Scott-G 6’3” Sr……………………………..4.2 PPG
Fred Gulley-G 6’2” Sr………………………………3.6 PPG
Coty Clarke-F 6’7” Sr………………………………8.7 PPG
Bobby Portis-f 6’9” Fr……………………………..12.5 PPG

Other Key Players:

Alandise Harris-F 6’6” Jr………………………….10.4 PPG
Anthlon Bell-G 6’3” Soph…………………………7.7 PPG
Michael Qualls-G 6’5” Soph………………………12.7 PPG

Coach Mike Anderson, former assistant to Nolan Richardson, hopes to restore Arkansas back to it’s glory years under Richardson. Coach Anderson is trying to reshape the roster to fit his philosophy of playing some tough full court defense during games. The Razorbacks haven’t made a trip to the NCAA in 5 years and the fans are getting restless …..and this is coach Anderson’s 3rd year….the fans want to see results so there is pressure on Anderson to start showing results.

Playing at Bud Walton arena has always been a huge home court advantage for the Razorbacks. Last season, Arkansas was 18-1 at home and 9-0 in the SEC….however, they were a terrible 1-12 on the road. Last night, the Florida Gators handed the Razorbacks their first home loss of the season winning in OT.

Arkansas did lose it’s two best players…B.J. Young and Marshawn Powell….from last season. However, there is still plenty of talent on the Razorback team. Coach Richardson has 12 players averaging 10 minutes PG….so there is lots of depth.

The leading team scorers are Michael Qualls who also leads in assists….Bobby Portis who is the team’s leading rebounder and Rashad Madden who is shooting 50% from long range. The Razorbacks are a very good perimeter shooting team hitting 36.4%….several players are shooting very well from the perimeter…such as…Coty Clarke at 40%….Michael Qualls at 37.3%…..Alandise Harris at 37.5% and Kikko Haydar at 46.9%. In the loss to Florida, Arkansas hit 10 from the perimeter.

UK Stats:

80.5 PPG
FG%-47.5%
3 PT%-29.8% (4.9 PG)
FT%-66.0%
RPG-43.5 (+12.7)
APG-12.6
TPG-12.6
SPG-4.3
BPG-6.8

It’s always a big game when UK visits Arkansas and you can bet that the Razorbacks will be sky high to not drop another SEC game at home…..and the arena will be packed with Razorback fans!

UK is off to a good start at 2-0 in the SEC and a nice win over Vandy in Nashville. The Cats dominated the boards and only made 10 turnovers, but continue to struggle shooting the ball from the perimeter and from the FT line. In fact, thus far this UK team is one of the worst UK shooting teams in memory. The Cats are playing better as a team….defense has improved some, but has a ways to go….rebounding remains a key advantage for UK….and turnovers are down. However, poor shooting remains a huge issue and it’s hard to believe that shooting under 30% from long range and 66% from the FT line won’t cost the Cats some SEC games, especially on the road…..unless there starts to be significant improvement in overall shooting.

In Nashville, it was great to see WCS be more active on the offensive end and he played well overall. The Harrison twins both played good games overall….they were a combined 7-16 from the field….3-8 from long range….7-9 from the FT line….had 6 assists and only one turnover. It’s increasing important that the Cats get this kind production from the Harrison twins on a consistent basis. Randle had 11 rebounds, but he and Young were a pathetic 5-20 in shooting the ball. There has been some talk regarding Randle having cramping issues that hurts his performance in the 2nd half. Hopefully, this issue can be solved as UK needs Randle on the floor at 100%!

Needless to say, the game against Arkansas will be exceedingly difficult for this young UK team. Frankly, the games against Mississippi St and Vandy were somewhat disappointing in UK’s overall play….even though they were wins. I was hopeful that after all those days of practice that we would see much more improvement then we have seen thus far. I remain very hopeful that we see a breakout win over Arkansas that reveals a much improved UK team….a team that shoots much better from the field and FT line. Otherwise, it will be very difficult defeating a good Arkansas team on their home floor shooting 29% from the perimeter and 66% from the FT line!

If the Cats play very well….I see a UK win by 2-4 points! GO CATS!

No comments: