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Kentucky vs Arkansas: Game time, TV channel, live stream, odds, announcers & more

Everything you need for Kentucky Wildcats vs. Arkansas Razorbacks.

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Jamie Boggs - Sea of Blue

Arkansas Razorbacks (14-13) at Kentucky Wildcats (23-4)

As Arkansas rolls into Rupp Arena, there may not be a hotter team in all of college basketball than Kentucky.

Between the domination of the No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers last weekend to an absolute annihilation of the Auburn Tigers this past Saturday, Kentucky looks every bit the part of a title contender.

Arkansas, on the other hand, have not seen much success as of late. With a record of 14-13 (5-9 in SEC play), Arkansas has lost their last five conference games, three of those by double digits. After a 23-point loss to Auburn on Tuesday, they got beat by 12-14 Texas A&M on Saturday. They need a marquee win desperately to bolster their season.

The Razorbacks have been led by sophomore forward Daniel Gafford, who is putting up 16.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. At 6-11, he is tough to handle in the paint and to keep off of the boards. While I am sure his length would give Reid Travis some fits, it would be great to have his rebounding ability on Tuesday.

As a team, Arkansas only shoots 32% from behind the three-point line and 44.5% overall from the floor. Given Kentucky’s defensive pressure as of late, it would take a huge stroke of luck for the Razorbacks to put up a lot of points against the Wildcats.

A win for Kentucky would keep the pressure on LSU and Tennessee to keep up in the SEC standings, whereas a loss would all but rule out a regular-season conference championship.

For the Razorbacks, they cannot even see the bubble from their seat. They are simply trying to play the role of spoiler and gain some momentum going into the SEC Tournament.

4 Keys to the Game

Control the glass

Arkansas averages 34.5 rebounds per game, just a few less than Kentucky’s 38.6. Almost 25% of the Razorbacks’ rebounds come from Gafford, so the Wildcats need to make it a priority to keep a body on him at all times. He has 12 games of 10+ rebounds this season, including 13 in Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M along with 23 points.

That will be tough without Reid Travis in the lineup, but several Wildcats stepped up on the boards on Saturday. They will need to do so even more on Tuesday. If Gafford is able to clean up the glass, Kentucky may find themselves in a battle going into the final minutes.

Pressure the Hogs

One of Arkansas’ fatal flaws this season has been their inability to avoid turnovers, as they rank 245th nationally in turnovers per game (13.8). Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro need to keep the heat on Arkansas from start to finish to keep the Hogs out of rhythm and never give them a chance to make this a game.

This has the potential to be one of Hagans’ best games this season in terms of steals. He has just three steals in his last four games, but this is the kind of game he could get that in one half.

Let PJ eat

There is absolutely nobody on the Arkansas roster that can keep PJ Washington in check. If they throw Gafford at him, PJ will get to the basket at will. If they come with the other starting forward, Adrio Bailey, Washington should be able to get whatever he wants in the post.

PJ has been dominant against stiff competition in the last three weeks, so a game with matchups like this one is the perfect scenario for him to put up monster numbers. The Wildcats need to go to him early and often to get the Razorbacks on their heels.

Get Richards and Montgomery involved

Getting Gafford in foul trouble would be huge for the Wildcats in this game. To do so, however, they need to get the ball to the players he is defending. EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards had six and four points, respectively, in Kentucky’s first game without Reid Travis. It would be great for them to increase those numbers against a struggling Arkansas team.

While it would go a long way toward the Wildcats getting the win on Tuesday, getting Richards and Montgomery going on the offensive end would really play dividends come tournament time. If there was ever a time to let them work through some awkward offensive situations, it will be this Tuesday.

4 Players to Watch

Daniel Gafford

As mentioned before, Gafford carries this Razorbacks team. He leads them in points, rebounds, and blocked shots. He also plays nearly 29 minutes per game. He actually wreaked havoc against LSU’s loaded frontcourt, scoring 32 points and 7 boards in an overtime loss at home to the Tigers. He returned the favor by racking up 23 points and 8 boards in the 90-89 win at LSU.

If the Wildcats can limit his minutes via foul trouble or just making him work harder on the post and in the glass, it will set Kentucky up for success.

Isaiah Joe

Of all of the players with two first names, Joe is one of them. While this team is not particularly dangerous from long range, Joe is shooting around 42% from behind the arc and has made 93 three-pointers on the season. The 6-5 freshman guard will likely be the assignment of Tyler Herro, who has shown the ability to lock down the opposing team’s guards playing off the ball.

Mason Jones

Jones is second on the team in just about every offensive category. With 13.9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game, Jones is a very well-rounded basketball player. He is just shooting 33% from deep, but he can certainly get hot and put some points on the board. He may be the most likely candidate to add to the “random dude that catches fire in Rupp Arena” list. So hopefully he does not get left alone beyond the arc very often.

Keyshawn Embery-Simpson

On paper, Embery-Simpson doesn’t look like someone Kentucky should worry about, as he’s averaging just 4.6 points per game as a freshman. However, he’s a prime candidate for the ‘random guy goes off in Rupp’ player of this game. He actually did that to LSU, as he scored 16 points and shot 4/6 from deep in that 90-89 win in Baton Rouge. He has another 16-point outing in the Hogs’ loss at Ole Miss, so he’s already had some big games in tough road environments.