Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kentucky vs. Arkansas pre-view

After a three game homestand, Kentucky heads back out on the road to Fayetteville to take on the Razorbacks of Arkansas.

The Hogs have had a sub par season thus far going 17-11 (8-7), but still pose a tough challenge for anyone when they are playing in Bud Walton Arena. So far this season, Arkansas has only suffered one loss at home and that was against then #6 ranked Syracuse. So it's safe to say that it will be no easy task to go into Fayetteville and come out with a win.

For Kentucky to have a chance at a victory, they will have to have maximum effort from everyone that steps on the floor. Everyone will have to get involved on offense and defense not to mention rebounding. If they come with the effort they had in any of the last three games, they should come away with a win. But, if they take this team lightly, they very well could find themselves back in the "first four out" column.

To get a better feel for what the Cats will have to do to avoid a loss, here's a look at how these two stack up against each other...

              HOGS    CATS

PPG:        74            75
RPG:       35            38
APG:        15             14
SPG:          9               6
BPG:          5               7
TPG:        12             13
FG%:       44            48
FT%:        67            64
3P%:        30            36

Arkansas has lost it's last two games, one at LSU 65-60 and one at Florida 67-49. The Hogs have taken some pretty bad losses on the road this season, just glancing at their schedule there was one that stuck out to me, a loss at Vandy 67-49. Now I know what you're thinking, we have beaten Vandy twice, LSU once and had Nerlens Noel not gotten injured against Florida, that score would have been more respectful than 69-52 and you're right on all accounts. But there's one thing to remember,  all of those losses for the Hogs came on the road. 

I really believe if Kentucky plays their game, executes their offense the way they have been the last couple of weeks and plays hard-nosed defense they can win this one. But, if they come out flat, turning the ball over at a high rate and not fighting for rebounds, this very well could be a loss. The one stat that concerns me is Arkansas averaging 9 steals per contest and the Cats averaging 13 turnovers. You don't have to be a coach to see what has the potential of happening if the Cats don't take care of the ball.

Historically, Bud Walton Arena has always been a tough place to play for everyone in the SEC, including Kentucky who has an all-time record of 5-4 in the building. It can be one of the loudest arena's in the league on a good night, at times it can sound like all 19,200 is about to come through your TV screen. It's always the game on the schedule that when it's played in Bud Walton, Cat fans cringe at the thought of it.

Even-though Kentucky has a 5-4 record in Bud Walton, they still lead the all-time series (as they do with all SEC opponents) with a record of 25-8.

Saturday could be an interesting game if Kentucky allows it to be, but if they play to their potential and as a team they can get the much needed W. I guess we will find out Saturday what this team has learned in their victories at Rupp...

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