Points figure to be at a premium tonight when
SEC rivals Alabama and Arkansas square off at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville,
Arkansas. Game time is 7:00 PM and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
The game opened as a pick but the Razorbacks
are now favored by one on the spread. The total is 132.5 on the NCAA basketball odds board.
The Crimson Tide (17-9 SU, 10-12 ATS) won the first
meeting on January 28, beating Arkansas 72-66. The Tide shot 50 percent from
the field with Trevor Releford scoring a game high 18 points.
Alabama has won four of its last six games to
improve to 6-6 in SEC play. Their latest win came Saturday at home when they
beat Tennessee, 62-50. The Tide was without the services of a pair of suspended
starters in JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell but reserves Moussa Gueye and Carl
Engstrom stepped up against the Vols with a combined nine points, nine rebounds
and six blocks. In the Tide's last outing, Andrew Steele had 10 points, a
career-high seven assists and five steals as the Tide recorded a total of 15
The Alabama defense is 10th in the
nation and second in the SEC in scoring (58.1 ppg). Only nine of UA's 26
opponents, including Arkansas, have even reached the 60-point mark in
regulation this season and four have failed to score 50 points. The Crimson
Tide is also eighth in the nation in field goal percentage (38.1) and third in
3-point shooting (27.3 percent).
Offensively, ‘Bama ranks near the bottom in
most categories including scoring (65.4 points per game) and 3-point shooting
UA's bench has stepped up with the reserves
averaging 28.2 points in the four games prior to the LSU game. In its last two
games, UA's bench has held a 43-6 advantage and has outscored its opponent in
each of the last seven games.
Arkansas (17-10 SU, 17-11-1 ATS) has lost
four of its last five outings to drop to 5-7 in the SEC and has gone 2-4 since
losing at Tuscaloosa in the first meeting between the two defensive minded
For the Razorbacks to end their slide,
they’ll need another big night from Freshman B.J. Young who is averaging 15.1
points. He’s had 22 games this season in which he’s scored in double figures. Mardracus
Wade (10.4 points) is the only other Arkansas starter who is scoring in double
Arkansas chances of a win and cover improved
greatly with the suspensions of Green (14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds) and Mitchell
(13.1 ppg, 7.0 rebounds). Green is out tonight and perhaps longer while
Mitchell is done for the year because of what the school calls his pattern of
This will be the 54th meeting
between the two schools. Arkansas leads the series 28-25 and is 10-5 in
The two teams split last year’s series with
each winning on its home floor. UA won the first meeting this season on its
home and neither team has won on the other’s home court since January 27, 2007.
Arkansas has been tough as nails at home
going 17-2 SU (6-4-1 ATS). They’re averaging nearly five more points per game
at Bud Walton’s place (77.2) than on the road (72.8) and the defense is slightly
better at home (65.5 ppg) than on the road (68.7 ppg).
Alabama has a 3-5 road mark (7-5 ATS) but its
home/road scoring splits are close. The Tide is scoring at a 64 ppg clip on the
road and allowing 60.9. That compares favorably to their 65.4 to 58.1
offense/defense numbers in Tuscaloosa.
Harvey’s Take: This figures to be a half-court, grind it out affair.
Neither team possesses a huge edge in any of the wagering statistics, so based
mostly on home court advantage; I’m going to side with the Razorbacks tonight
in what is a virtual pick but check in with Suarez's analysis of this game as well.