Arkansas vs Kentucky has been moved from the SEC Network to ESPN on Saturday.
Tip is still scheduled for 8:30 p.m EST. The change is the result of a snow storm in North Carolina, postponing the North Carolina-North Carolina State game, which was scheduled to air on ESPN.
As you were.
The #6 Kentucky Wildcats (12-2) will take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (12-2) Saturday night in an early season SEC showdown.
The Razorbacks have split their first two SEC games of the season, an 81-72 loss at home to Florida and an 82-78 victory on the road at Tennessee.
Since arriving at Kentucky, John Calipari’s squads have struggled against the Razorbacks, posting a 5-4 record over the two team’s nine meetings. Only one of Kentucky’s four losses to Arkansas has been at home. Kentucky owns the all-time series 28-11.
The Razorbacks are led by 6’10 senior forward Moses Kingsley, who was tabbed as the SEC Preseason Player of the Year. So far this season, Kingsley is averaging 11 points per game while pulling down around nine rebounds per game. Kingsley’s impact has been evident on the defensive end, averaging three blocks per game (8th in the country).
The majority of Arkansas’ scoring comes from their backcourt as four of their top five scorers are guards.
The Razorbacks are led in scoring by senior guard Dusty Hannahs (14.5 ppg) and junior guard Daryl Macon (14 ppg) , who has scored at least 15 points in his last five games. Jaylen Barford and Anton Beard are also averaging over nine points per game. De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Dominique Hawkins will need to have strong defensive performances.
The other interesting storyline to follow is that Malik Monk is an Arkansas native and spurned the Razorbacks to come to Kentucky. Monk’s decision did not go over well in the state of Arkansas, and it is safe to say that the Razorbacks fans who travel to Lexington will likely not be too friendly to Monk. At least he is not traveling to Fayetteville for this one.
In the past, under head coach Mike Anderson, Arkansas has liked to play at a fast pace, implementing full court pressure to try to force quick turnovers and easy transition baskets. Kentucky’s guards will have to be able to pass the ball well and avoid turnovers in the backcourt. If Fox, Monk, Briscoe, and Hawkins can avoid turning the ball over, there will be plenty of opportunities for easy scores on the other end.
This one could turn into a track meet, and I am convinced there are only a few teams in the country that can beat Kentucky in an uptempo, fast-paced game. We witnessed UCLA do it, and UNC tried but came just short. Arkansas could keep this one close, but if the Wildcats can keep the Razorbacks guards in check and limit Kingsley’s impact on the boards and with blocked shots, I like the Wildcat’s chances.
Here is everything you’ll need for this Saturday night affair.
Arkansas Razorbacks (12-2, 1-1 in SEC) at Kentucky Wildcats (12-2, 2-0 in SEC)
When: Jan. 7 at 8:30 p.m. EST
Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
SEC Network ESPN
Live Online Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: UK Radio Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt
Odds: Kentucky opened as a 16-point favorite.
Score Prediction: KenPom projects a 93-77 win by Kentucky and gives the Cats a 93-percent chance of winning