Arkansas travels to Georgia to face the Bulldogs at Stegman Coliseum in the opener of SEC play. Arkansas returns 3 starters from a 22-12 SU team, who finished 10-8 SU in the SEC and advanced to the 2nd round of the NIT.
Arkansas vs. Georgia (-3-) 7:00 ET ESPN
Arkansas travels to Georgia to face the Bulldogs at Stegman Coliseum in the opener of SEC play. There are numerous similarities between these two from last season. Arkansas returns 3 starters from a 22-12 SU team, who finished 10-8 SU in the SEC and advanced to the 2nd round of the NIT. They are again projected to finish in the upper division of the SEC. In a similar fashion, Georgia went 20-14 SU last season, including 12-6 SU in the SEC. They also ascended to the 2nd round play in the NIT, have 3 returning starters and are projected for an upper division finish in the SEC. Last year, these two played each other in a home and home series. Predictably, Arkansas won by 12 on their strong home court. Georgia won by 5 when they hosted the Hogs. Therein lies much of the reason for our selection.
Arkansas is coached by 4th year mentor Mike Anderson. As a disciple of Nolan Richardson, Anderson is a proponent of full court pressure defense. The style is known as "40 minutes of hell" referring to the defensive pressure that is put on the opponents the entire game. This full court style is conducive to inciting an aroused fan base when Arkansas plays at home at Bud Walton Arena. It is there that Arkansas has gone 62-6 SU, including 10-0 SU this season, under HC Anderson. When traveling, however, and not receiving the support of the home crowd, Anderson's teams have a history of failure. In fact, including the 5 years that Anderson coached at Missouri, his teams are just 18-45 ATS on the road vs. winning opponents. That includes road losses this year at Iowa St. and Clemson. Again this evening, the venue and the fundamentals work against Arkansas.
Georgia enters this evening on a 22-3 SU run L1+Y on their home court. That includes 7-0 SU this year with every win coming by 7 or more points. The Bulldogs enter on a 6-game win streak with a record of 9-3 SU. From a fundamental perspective, Georgia has the necessary components to break down the Arkansas pressure, so consider this when looking over the NCAA basketball odds. Their PG Frazier leads the SEC in assists/TO ratio. Furthermore, Georgia is an outstanding defensive team, allowing just 64 PPG, 37% from the field, 28% from behind the arc with a +4.6 rebound margin. Their inside/outside tandem of Thornton and Gains will provide great offensive balance once again this contest.
This is a classic home/road dichotomy play favoring a home team on an undefeated court this season, who has the better defense, the ability to break down the opponent's best weapon and enough offensive balance to succeed in the half court. No surprise to this bureau if the Bulldogs emerge with a double digit victory tonight; which is why I suggest taking Georgia as your NCAA basketball pick.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Take Georgia -4 at 5Dimes