(Bud Walton Arena)
If Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym is my least favorite place to see the Cats play then Arkansas' Bud Walton Arena is my second least favorite and that is where they will play Tuesday night.
For me it all started in 90's when I witnessed then head coach Nolan Richardson's defense nicknamed '40 minutes of hell'. It was his style of defense that made players, coaches and fans alike want to poke their eyes out with a fire poker. It was relentless and always made for an intense game and left you gnawing your fingernails down to nubs. Even though those days are long gone, Bud Walton Arena still remains as one of the most intimidating places to play in the SEC. If you witness your team come out of this place with a W, count yourself luck because it is certainly no ease accomplishment.
With that said, lets look at some info on the University of Arkansas…
LOCATION: Fayetteville, Arkansas
COLORS: Cardinal Red/White
NICKNAME: Razorbacks (Hogs)
MASCOT: Tusk the Razorback
Over the years, watching these two teams battle was something to witness. Some of the best games in SEC history came when the Cats and Hogs would lock horns with Pitino and Nolan Richardson stalking the sidelines. Nothing in my mind will ever compare to watching these match-ups, but that's just me.
The University of Arkansas has a long list of 'Notable Alumni', but here's just a few to give you a small example…
Jimmy Dykes - ESPN
Charles Portis - author of 'True Grit'
Pat Summerall - sportscaster for CBS, FOX and ESPN
Joe T. Ford - Founder of Alltel
Jerry Jones - Oilman and owner of the Dallas Cowboys
Walter Keller - developer of the heart pacemaker
John Daly - PGA
Maurice Britt - WWII Medal of Honor winner and former NFL player
Like I've said before, over the years these two teams have had some classic battles, but let's take a look at how this years teams match-up with each other….
BY THE NUMBERS:
PPG: 85 80
RPG: 38 44
APG: 17 13
SPG: 8 4
BPG: 6 7
TPG: 12 13
FG%: 47 47
FT%: 70 66
3P%: 36 29
The Cats will have to play a near perfect game down in Fayetteville to walk away with a W. They will have to watch their turnovers and value each and every possession. So far this season Kentucky has shown an ability to get to the charity stripe, but something tells me they will have to make their free-throws to win this one. Also, over the course of the season, Kentucky has shown they struggle from three point range. In my opinion, they will have to consistently knock down the outside shot (I'm looking at you James Young) to have a chance at the end of the game.
Kentucky leads the series with a record of 25-9, but that is misleading when it comes to the history between these two schools. You have to go back to the nineties to truly understand what this series is all about….
With all of that out of the way, Kentucky needs this win to have another quality road win for it's resume. A loss wouldn't be detrimental to the Cats' season considering #10 Florida had to go to overtime just to defeat the 'Hogs' in Fayetteville 84-82. I'm not big into predicting who wins games, but given the choice, I'd honestly take a one point win right now if given the choice….