Arkansas is a shoo-in for the NCAA tournament, while LSU might have a little work to do. Does motivation play a factor in our free college basketball pick on Saturday's Tigers-Hogs game in Fayetteville?
Tigers-Hogs Betting Odds
The NCAA Basketball odds opened this game with Arkansas favored by six or 6.5 points, and that number was holding steady in the early betting.
Tigers-Hogs: The Situation
Arkansas had won seven games in a row, before getting whooped at Kentucky last Saturday 84-67. Then it looked like the Hogs might lose a second-straight game Thursday night, trailing at South Carolina by 11 points with about eight minutes to go, before rallying for a 78-74 victory.
Arkansas actually led the Gamecocks by 20 in the first half Thursday, allowed SC to go on a 48-17 run, but rallied just time, ending the game on a 9-1 run of its own to steal a victory and cover as a two-point favorite on the road.
The Hogs survived Thursday night despite allowing the Gamecocks to shoot 51 percent on field goals.
With the victory Arkansas clinched second place in the SEC, and a double-bye for next week's SEC tournament. So strictly speaking the Razorbacks don't have a whole lot at stake Saturday. They're locked into their seed for the conference tournament, and they will be heading back to the NCAA tournament, following a seven-year absence.
LSU, meanwhile, had won three in a row, but got upset at home Wednesday by Tennessee 78-63. That game was tied at the half, but the Tigers gave up a 17-2 run through the middle of the second half and couldn't recover. On the night LSU shot just 40 percent from the floor, while allowing the Vols to shoot 52 percent.
Just before that the Tigers had beaten Ole Miss 73-63; just before that they won at Auburn 84-61; and just before that they beat Florida 70-63.
At 21-9 overall, 10-7 in SEC play LSU has a decent case for an NCAA tournament bid, but it's not guaranteed of anything yet, especially after the loss to Tennessee.
LSU had won and covered four in a row in this series, but Arkansas took the most recent meeting between the teams, last February in Fayetteville 81-70. This is the first meeting between these teams this season.
Tigers-Hogs Key Numbers
LSU is shooting 46 percent from the floor this season, only 33 percent from 3-point range and 70 percent from the FT line. At the other end of the court the Tigers are holding opponents to 40 percent FG shooting.
Arkansas is shooting 45 percent from the floor, 36 percent from long range and 72 percent from the line, while holding foes to 43 percent shooting.
Tigers-Hogs Betting Trends
LSU is 14-12 on the totals this season, as Tigers games have averaged 141 points.
Arkansas is 16-12 on the totals, as Hogs games have averaged 149 points.
Tigers-Hogs Free Pick
Arkansas looked terrible against Kentucky last week, then had to scramble like heck to beat South Carolina Thursday night. The Hogs are now 1-4 ATS over their last five games. Also, we're not sure of their motivation for this game, considering they're basically locked into postseason positioning. LSU, on the other hand, is coming off an upset loss at home to Tennessee, but still has an outside shot at one of those double-byes for the SEC tournament. And the Tigers could still use a quality victory to enhance their Big Dance resume. So we'll go with the visitors here, plus the points for our NCAA basketball picks.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: LSU +6.5