The 19th ranked Tennessee Volunteers will dive into SEC play against one of the better teams in the conference, the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas enters SEC play with a 10-2 record, which includes wins over No. 14 Minnesota and Oklahoma.
The Razorbacks are currently undefeated — 7-0 — at home on the season. They’re averaging 90 points even per game, good for 8th overall in the NCAA. Arkansas does it by spreading the ball around, resulting in five players averaging north of ten points per game to this point.
Guard Jaylen Barford leads the ways, scoring 18.6 points per contest. The 6-3 senior is shooting over 50 percent from the field coming into this one. Barford plays nearly 30 minutes per game, along with Daryl Macon and Anton Beard. Those three guards are the key to Arkansas’ up-tempo attack.
The Volunteer’s edge here is definitely defensively, where they surrender 65.8 to Arkansas’ 73.1. Tennessee should have a slight edge on the boards too, which they will have to capitalize on during Saturday’s game.
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes offered his thoughts on the Razorbacks on Thursday, during his media availability.
“Great transition team. They can really explode on you and score in bunches. They’re a multiple defensive team — a little switching, some matchup zone, some full court pressure. They have depth — should be an up and down game. They are as good in transition as anybody we’ve played all year. They play hard and aggressive. They’ll try to turn you over. They switch defenses and see if you can adjust to it.”
Tennessee (18) and Arkansas (22) are viewed as near equals by the KenPom ranking system. The same can be said for RPI, where Tennessee ranks 7th and Arkansas ranks 12th.
All that to say, these are two pretty good basketball teams. Tennessee is going to have to keep pace, but that shouldn’t be a problem facing the Razorback’s 211th ranked defense. Expect lots of points and a fun game in Fayetteville.
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Tip-off: 1 PM Eastern
TV: SEC Network
Radio: Vol Network
Streaming: Watch ESPN