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Game Preview: Arkansas Razorbacks

Kentucky looks to bounce back this afternoon after a brutal loss at South Carolina towards the beginning of the week. Traveling down to Arkansas to take on a struggling Razorback team, Kentucky is in the "must win" scenario it feels. Trying to avoid the back-to-back loss is very crucial for the directory of this team's future.

Eric Musselman's team this year has been way worse than anyone expected. They're currently 10-9 through nineteen games and 1-5 in conference play, way below what they were projected to do after killing it in the transfer portal this offseason. They've found losses against many of the top programs, but some of their more regrettable losses have come against UNC Greensboro (at home), Georgia, and Ole Miss. With that being said, they have earned solid wins against Duke and Texas A&M both at home. While Kentucky still remains the much better team, I do have to throw in here that Arkansas has beaten UNC Wilmington and Texas A&M (previously mentioned), a feat that the Wildcats could not accomplish.

Scouting the opponent, Arkansas' defense is just as bad as Kentucky's. As Tim mentioned on our basketball podcast this week, they give up almost as many points as Kentucky does per game, so let's expect this game to be high-scoring and to bet the over. Arkansas gives up 77.5 points (ranked 309th) while Kentucky gives up 77.3 points (305th) a game. Another thing that both programs do alike is their benching scoring. Arkansas is 13th in the nation in bench points per game (31.9) with Kentucky trailing just behind them at 25th (28.8).

The opponent also has a lot of players who can put up a lot of points consistently. Khalif Battle (26), El Ellis (15), and Tramon Mark (11) have all had double-digit 20-point games throughout their careers. So pick your poison on defense and hope you can cool two of the three if you want to win comfortably.

The blueprint for a Kentucky win is simple. Simple to do? We'll see. But definitely simple concepts that I know this team is capable of doing if they don't come out and throw another clunker. The 'Cats need to knock down ten or more three-pointers in this matchup - as they have many times this year - to give your shooting back going and hopefully ride a few players to a great first half. Another point of emphasis needs to go into improving your defense at least somewhat from what we've seen in any opportunity so far. The Razorbacks will let you score a lot, but instead of doing the exact same if you can trim your weakness back a little bit that will create you an advantage. I'd like to see them hold the Razorbacks to 73 or less. Lastly, we need to get one of the big men going. If one maybe two of our big guys can step up offensively it will make things much easier for the shooters as well as the guards that drive to the basket. It allows them to take more calculated field goals rather than forcing them in hopes to put up quick points. I selfishly would like to see Tre Mitchell and Aaron Bradshaw have a big night alongside Antonio Reeves and DJ Wagner.

I think if Kentucky can stick to the script that they have accomplished time after time this season, one that you can attribute the bulk of their 14 wins to, they should be able to leave Fayetteville with the win.

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