Photo by Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Kentucky Basketball

Getting Ready for the Razorbacks

January 18, 2020
158

Kentucky takes on Arkansas in Fayetteville and looks to rebound (too soon?) from their last-second loss to South Carolina in their last game. Arkansas is a top 25 KenPom team and a win on the road will go a long way to calm the Big Blue Nation as well as solidify a good win that helps seeding come March. Here are three things to watch as the Cats take on the Hogs.

Kentucky's offense takes on the best defense they'll face all year.
Arkansas has the 12th best defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Ohio State and Louisville are both in the top 20, and Texas Tech is one spot behind Arkansas at 13, but this is the highest-ranked defense Kentucky will face this year. Kentucky has struggled to score on the road consistently, one of the reasons they dropped the South Carolina game. Kentucky turned the ball over too often against a South Carolina team that ranks 55th overall in turnover % on defense. Arkansas ranks 15th in the country, turning opponents over on 24.2% of possessions, more than 2% higher than South Carolina. Kentucky's ability to protect the ball will be crucial to coming out with a win in a hostile Bud Walton Arena.

Three-Point Shooting - An *knocks on wood* unstoppable force meets an immovable pig.
Kentucky has shot 41.4% from three in SEC play this year, the best percentage in the league. Immanuel Quickley has been on absolute fire, hitting 67% of his threes in SEC play and is averaging 19 PPG over his last five games. On the other hand, Arkansas ranks #1 in the country in opponent three-point percentage, holding opponents to just 22.8% shooting on the season.  One of them has to give.

A significant height advantage - Can Kentucky take advantage?
Kentucky has an effective height (a weighted height based on the height of contributing players) of 78.1 inches, coming in at 33rd in the country. Arkansas, who plays five guards at some points, ranks 286th in effective height. Arkansas has no one over 6'8, and their main rotation features no one over 6'6. Kentucky should be able to take advantage of their size and length against the Razorbacks. Staying out of foul trouble by staying disciplined on shot fakes and drives will be important for Kentucky's bigs. Luckily, they shouldn't have to worry about the offensive glass that killed them in the second half of the South Carolina game.

 
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