The Kentucky Wildcats (14-4, 4-2 SEC) will travel to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas (10-9, 1-5 SEC) in what will be a rowdy Bud Walton Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Kentucky is coming off a disappointing 79-62 loss to South Carolina in a memorable win for the Gamecocks in Columbia, but Arkansas isn’t doing much better, coming off two consecutive losses to Ole Miss and the same Gamecock team that stunned the Cats.
Even though the Wildcats had a lackluster showing in Columbia, the Razorbacks themselves have had a disappointing season thus far. Arkansas, who came into this season as a real threat to Kentucky in the SEC, has found itself 12th in the conference standings with a 1-5 record in the league and has lost five of its last six matchups.
Starting SEC play, Arkansas was torn apart by Auburn to lose 83-51 and followed that performance with losses to Georgia and Florida before defeating Texas A&M by one point at home. After its lone win in the SEC thus far, the Razorbacks have lost two in a row to South Carolina and Ole Miss.
Thus far into league play, Arkansas has averaged 63 points per game while allowing opponents to score 80 while shooting just 36% from the field and just 27% from beyond the arc. The biggest threat that Kentucky will need to take care of is junior guard Tramon Mark who averages just under 18 points a game and even went off for 35 points against Texas A&M in Arkansas’s last victory.
Mark has 53% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc to lead the Razorbacks in scoring on the season, but he is not the only piece that John Calipari and his staff need to prepare for. Senior guard Khalif Battle is another name that Kentucky fans want to know about ahead of tipoff, as the New Jersey native averages 11 points a game on just 36% shooting thus far into the season.
Other names to look out for are Trevon Brazile, who is just under nine points a game, Keyon Menifield Jr., who is just under right a game, and Davonte Davis, along with Jalen Graham, who both average around six points a game.
As a team, Arkansas commits around 11 turnovers a game while only grabbing 4.3 steals a game. Off the glass, the Razorbacks don’t fare much better, as they get outrebounded by nearly 12 boards a game
As far as Kentucky, Adou Thiero’s availability is still a huge topic of conversation with still no answers being provided on the sophomore’s situation.
Tipoff against the Razorbacks is currently set for 6 pm ET inside Bud Walton Arena. As of Friday evening, Kentucky is a six-point favorite via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Now, how do you see this one playing out?