KENTUCKY WILDCATS (12-3)
at ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (11-4)
Bud Walton Arena - Fayetteville, AR
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Arkansas -1, Total: 155
Trying to avoid a third consecutive loss, Arkansas hosts a red-hot No. 13 Kentucky squad, winners of four straight, on Tuesday night.
After reeling off seven straight victories over a one-month stretch, the Razorbacks (7-5 ATS) have now lost two straight (SU and ATS) to Florida and Texas A&M. Their other two defeats this season came to California and then-No.11 Gonzaga, both on neutral courts. The Wildcats have won four in a row, but are just 6-7 ATS overall and 1-4 ATS in non-home games (0-2 ATS on road). Arkansas has covered in five of seven lined games at Bud Walton Arena this season, and since 1997, the school is 36-13 ATS (74%) at home versus good rebounding teams (4+ RPG margin) after 15+ games. But since Mike Anderson took over the Razorbacks, they are 0-8 ATS after a combined score of 165+ points. When these two schools met last season, Arkansas ran away with a 73-60 victory in Fayetteville, winning and covering the 2.5-point spread. They are 2-1 SU and ATS in the past three meetings, though before that the Wildcats had won 10 in a row SU (8-2 ATS) in this series.
Which team will pick up the crucial SEC win on Tuesday? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 61% ATS (149-96-5) mark, including a stellar 65% ATS (117-62) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Zach is leading the way at 63% ATS (31-18-1) on Best Bets this season, including 69% ATS (25-11) since Nov. 22, while StatFox Brian is also 63% ATS (31-18-1) for the season and 69% ATS (24-11) since Nov. 26. StatFox Scott is 62% ATS (31-19) for the season and 68% ATS (21-10) since Dec. 2, while StatFox Gary is 58% ATS (28-20-2) for the season and 67% ATS (20-10) since Dec. 3. StatFox Dave is 57% ATS (28-21-1) for the season and 65% ATS (11-6) since Dec. 18.
Kentuckyís offense ranks 31st nationally with 80.5 PPG, but is most impressive on the glass, where it tallies 43.9 RPG (5th in Div. I) with a +12.6 RPG margin. That includes 14.5 offensive RPG (3rd nation). That helps make up for the teamís weak three-point shooting to start the season, as it has made only 29.8% of its attempts. Defensively, the Wildcats have been strong overall, allowing 65.8 PPG on 39.0% FG, but those numbers increase to a mediocre 70.8 PPG on 44.6% FG. Freshman PF Julius Randle (16.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG) leads the team in scoring and rebounding, though he is coming off two of his worst outings of the season in which he combined for only 15 points on 6-of-17 FG. Still he racked up 25 rebounds in those two games. He gets a big lift defensively down low from sophomore C Willie Cauley-Stein (9.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG), who is a machine with 3.7 BPG (5th in nation). He recorded a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in last year's loss to the Razorbacks. Behind this impressive duo in the paint, the team has three freshman double-digit scorers who play on the perimeter in SF James Young (14.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG), SG Aaron Harrison (14.0 PPG) and PG Andrew Harrison (10.9 PPG, 3.3 APG). Andrew Harrison is making only 38.7% of his FG attempts, but needs to make better decisions in this offense with more turnovers (nine) than assists (eight) during his club's four-game win streak.
The Razorbacks also have a high-octane offense, scoring 84.5 PPG (15th in Div. I) with 16.7 APG (16th in nation). They also shoot 47.6% from the field, including 36.4% from three-point range. Though not on Kentuckyís level, theyíre not bad on the boards either with 38.1 per game, 11.5 of which come off the offensive glass. Although the team holds opponents to 67.9 PPG on 39.5% FG (64.1 PPG on 37.0% FG at home), it has really struggled in two SEC games, surrendering 76.5 PPG and getting outshot 42% FG to 37% FG. Arkansas features a deep lineup with nobody who scores 13 PPG, but four players averaging double-figure scoring. And despite its strong passing totals, nobody averages even 2.5 APG. SG Michael Qualls (12.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG) is the teamís top scorer, joined on the perimeter by SG Rashad Madden (11.2 PPG), who is hitting 50% of his three-pointers this season (22-of-44). Down low, 6-foot-10 freshman PF Bobby Portis (12.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG) is the teamís top rebounder, joined by forwards Coty Clarke (8.7 RPG, 6.1 RPG; team-high 2.2 APG) and Alandise Harris (10.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG). Clarke was the best player on the court in last season's win against Kentucky, scoring 14 points (4-of-5 FG, 6-of-7 FT), grabbing 12 boards, dishing out six assists and adding three steals.