Arkansas (17-11) at Auburn (14-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 25th, 4:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Auburn Arena (9,121) -- Auburn, Alabama. Television: SEC Network, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Arkansas 17-3, Auburn 13-2. Away Record: Arkansas 0-8, Auburn 1-9. Neutral Record: Arkansas 0-0, Auburn 0-2. Conference Record: Arkansas 5-8, Auburn 4-9. Series Record: Arkansas leads, 27-16.
GAME NOTES: The Auburn Tigers return home to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks, hoping their improved play will translate into a win in Southeastern Conference action.
Auburn gave No. 12 Florida a run for its money on Tuesday in Gainesville before succumbing to a torrid three-point barrage by the Gators in the second half of a 63-47 setback. The Tigers were up three at the half in hostile territory, but UF came out of the locker room blazing with each of its first five buckets finding the mark from long distance. The Gators shot 7-of-12 from beyond the arc in the second half alone, and finished 11-of-21 on three-point attempts. The visitors' solid start wilted under the pressure in the second half, as Auburn shot 30.4 percent from the floor over the final period. Adrian Forbes led the AU effort with 11 points off the bench, as the Tigers failed to build off a solid win over Mississippi State their last time out. Overall, Auburn has dropped four of five games to settle in at 4-9 in the SEC.
Arkansas lost for a third straight time in falling at home to Alabama on Thursday, 79-68. The Razorbacks jumped in front early and led by as many as 12 points before 'Bama used a late 10-2 run to take control heading into the break. It was more of the same from the Crimson Tide in the second half, starting the period on an 11-2 run and building their lead to 15. Arkansas wound up shooting a high percentage (.489), but committed 18 turnovers. B.J. Young was hot to start, scoring 18 of his 21 points in the opening half for the hosts. Rickey Scott added 12 points for the Hogs, who have now lost five of six games overall to drop to 5-8 in conference play.
Arkansas has won each of the last three meetings with Auburn, including a 56-53 decision in Fayetteville on January 25. The Razorbacks own a 27-16 edge in the all-time series, but the Tigers are 12-8 at home.
The Tigers' offense has good balance but is not one to pile up the points. Junior Frankie Sullivan leads the effort at 12.3 ppg and serves as the team's best three-point shooter with 54 treys on 34.2 percent shooting. Kenny Gabriel checks in at 12.1 ppg and leads the team in rebounding with 7.6 rpg. Varez Ward and Chris Denson add some depth at 9.0 and 8.5 ppg, respectively, while Rob Chubb kicks in 8.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg. Overall, Auburn puts up just 63.0 ppg on 41.7 percent shooting, while the defense tries its best to make those numbers stand up at 64.1 ppg and a 40.9 shooting percentage against. The Tigers are also outrebounded by the narrowest of margins (35.2 to 34.7).
The Razorbacks have a pair of inexperienced players leading the team from their spots in the backcourt, freshman Young and sophomore Mardracus Wade produce on a nightly basis. Young leads the team in scoring with 15.4 ppg and field goal percentage (.508), while Wade adds 10.4 ppg and is the club's top three-point threat with 56 treys on a crisp 47.5 percent shooting effort. Scott, a fellow sophomore, adds 9.2 ppg and 3.5 rpg, while Julysses Nobles paces the club with 3.3 apg and chips in 8.9 ppg. Overall, Arkansas stands as one of the better offensive teams in the SEC with 72.6 ppg, currently fourth in league play. The defense could use some work though, as it surrenders a league-high 69.1 ppg, but on only 42.8 percent field goal efficiency. The Hogs shoot 43.5 percent from the floor overall and have the SEC's worst rebounding margin at minus-3.2 (37.7-34.5).
Auburn should be able to take a number of lessons from its recent loss to Florida and apply them moving toward the SEC Tournament. Arkansas, meanwhile, is still a mostly inexperienced team and has yet to win on the road this year (0-8).
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Auburn 68, Arkansas 63
02/25 10:36:34 ET