Alabama (17-9) at Arkansas (17-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 23rd, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bud Walton Arena (19,368) -- Fayetteville, Arkansas. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Alabama 11-3, Arkansas 17-2. Away Record: Alabama 3-6, Arkansas 0-8. Neutral Record: Alabama 3-0, Arkansas 0-0. Conference Record: Alabama 6-6, Arkansas 5-7. Series Record: Arkansas leads, 28-25.
GAME NOTES: The Alabama Crimson Tide will attempt to sweep the season series over their Southeastern Conference rival as they head to Bud Walton Arena to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks.
This will be the 54th meeting in history and second battle this season between Alabama and the Razorbacks. The Crimson Tide picked up a 72-66 decision in the first meeting between the programs this season on Jan. 28th. Alabama shot an even 50 percent from the floor while Arkansas made 42.9 percent of its field goal tries in the initial encounter.
Alabama bolstered its NCAA at-large bid hopes on Saturday with a 62-50 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers. Head coach Anthony Grant has transformed the Crimson Tide into one of the top defensive teams in the nation. Alabama is allowing just 58.1 ppg, which is the 11th best average in the NCAA. Only nine of the Crimson Tide's 26 opponents have managed to reach the 60-point mark in regulation. Alabama is netting 65.4 ppg on the offensive end, which ranks 9th in the SEC.
Andrew Steele is coming off one of his best performances, as he scored 10 points, dished out seven assists, and swiped five steals in the win over Tennessee. Freshman center Moussa Gueye was a big contributor in the win over the Volunteers as well, as he recorded a season high six blocks. Alabama will continue to search for contributions from its former role players as its talented forwards JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell remain suspended.
Arkansas comes in with a 17-10 overall record and a 5-7 mark in SEC action after its 98-68 loss to the nationally ranked Florida Gators on Saturday. Although the Razorbacks were completely dominated in the contest, it was only their first loss at Bud Walton Arena this season. Head coach Mike Anderson's team is in desperate need of a win tonight to enhance its chances at a bid in the Big Dance. Arkansas is fourth in the SEC in scoring offense with an average of 72.8 ppg.
The Razorbacks will need big performances out of B.J. Young and Mardracus Wade tonight. Young is leading the team with 15.1 ppg on 50.5 percent shooting from the field, while Wade is second in scoring with 10.4 ppg. In the loss to the Gators, Young went off for a career-high 31 points. Freshman forward Devonta Abron netted 11 points to become the only other player besides Young to score in double figures against Florida. Julysses Nobles is a decent point guard for Arkansas, as he is handing out 3.3 assists per contest.
Green and Mitchell combined for 25 points in the first matchup between these squads. With the forward tandem absent, Arkansas will have a much better chance to pull out the victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas 65, Alabama 62
02/23 10:36:23 ET