SEC Basketball Preview/Prediction: Kentucky at Arkansas

Kentucky-Arkansas

Kentucky visits Arkansas on Saturday in a key SEC basketball matchup. Look inside for a preview of the game along with a prediction of the game’s final score.

By 14Powers Hoops

Stats | RPI | Players | Scouting Report | Prediction | Time/TV

Team Statistical Comparison

FG% 3PT% FT% ORB TRB AST STL BLK TO
Kentucky 0.461 0.321 0.768 157 609 238 85 80 203
Kentucky OPP 0.387 0.294 0.645 166 520 178 77 48 204
Arkansas 0.446 0.314 0.752 116 537 209 143 74 195
Arkansas OPP 0.393 0.229 0.681 169 602 147 83 39 281

Stats | RPI | Players | Scouting Report | Prediction | Time/TV

Statistical Leaders

Kentucky Scoring Leaders

PLAYER TEAM PPG FGM FTM 3PTM
Tyrese Maxey Kentucky 13.9 76.0 50 20
Immanuel Quickley Kentucky 13.7 61.0 56 28
Ashton Hagans Kentucky 13.1 60.0 79 10
Nick Richards Kentucky 13.1 84.0 42 0
EJ Montgomery Kentucky 7.2 42.0 9 1
Nate Sestina Kentucky 7.2 30.0 22 12
Keion Brooks Jr. Kentucky 5.3 35.0 11 3
Kahlil Whitney Kentucky 3.7 23.0 9 4
Johnny Juzang Kentucky 1.7 7.0 6 2

Kentucky Rebounding Leaders

PLAYER TEAM OR DR TR RPG
Nick Richards Kentucky 43 80 123 7.7
EJ Montgomery Kentucky 19 55 74 5.7
Nate Sestina Kentucky 23 49 72 5.5
Ashton Hagans Kentucky 4 63 67 4.2
Tyrese Maxey Kentucky 4 61 65 4.1
Immanuel Quickley Kentucky 9 48 57 3.8
Keion Brooks Jr. Kentucky 18 33 51 3.2
Johnny Juzang Kentucky 6 23 29 2.2
Kahlil Whitney Kentucky 14 17 31 1.9

Arkansas Scoring Leaders

PLAYER TEAM PPG FGM FTM 3PTM
Mason Jones Arkansas 18.1 79.0 83 31
Isaiah Joe Arkansas 17.8 89.0 44 63
Jimmy Whitt Jr. Arkansas 14.8 102.0 33 0
Desi Sills Arkansas 10.0 60.0 25 15
Adrio Bailey Arkansas 6.5 38.0 23 5
Jalen Harris Arkansas 4.1 19.0 20 7
Reggie Chaney Arkansas 3.7 21.0 6 0
Jeantal Cylla Arkansas 1.2 7.0 2 1

Arkansas Rebounding Leaders

PLAYER TEAM OR DR TR RPG
Mason Jones Arkansas 14 78 92 6.1
Jimmy Whitt Jr. Arkansas 22 63 85 5.3
Adrio Bailey Arkansas 20 57 77 4.8
Isaiah Joe Arkansas 11 61 72 4.5
Desi Sills Arkansas 9 43 52 3.3
Reggie Chaney Arkansas 12 29 41 3.2
Jalen Harris Arkansas 6 33 39 2.4
Jeantal Cylla Arkansas 5 19 24 1.7

Stats | RPI | Players | Scouting Report | Prediction | Time/TV

Bud Walton Arena
Bud Walton Arena

NCAA RPI

Kentucky: 38

Arkansas: 23

Kentucky Roster

No. Name Pos. HT WT Class City-State
0 Ashton Hagans G 6′-3″ 198 SO Cartersville, GA
1 Nate Sestina F 6′-9″ 234 SR Emporium, PA
2 Kahlil Whitney F 6′-6″ 210 FR Chicago, IL
3 Tyrese Maxey G 6′-3″ 198 FR Garland, TX
4 Nick Richards F 6′-11″ 247 JR Kingston, Jamaica
5 Immanuel Quickley G 6′-3″ 188 SO Havre De Grace, MD
10 Johnny Juzang G 6′-6″ 214 FR Los Angeles, CA
11 Dontaie Allen G 6′-6″ 200 FR Falmouth, KY
12 Keion Brooks Jr. F 6′-7″ 205 FR Fort Wayne, IN
13 Riley Welch G 6′-0″ 185 JR Littleton, CO
14 Brennan Canada F 6′-6″ 198 FR Mount Sterling, KY
21 Zan Payne G 6′-4″ 235 FR Lexington, KY
23 EJ Montgomery F 6′-10″ 228 SO Fort Pierce, FL
33 Ben Jordan F 6′-9″ 250 SO Olive Hill, KY

Arkansas Roster

No. Name Pos. HT WT Class City-State
0 Jeantal Cylla F 6′-7″ 215 SR Lake Worth, FL
1 Isaiah Joe G 6′-5″ 180 SO Fort Smith, AR
2 Adrio Bailey F 6′-6″ 217 SR Clarence, LA
3 Desi Sills G 6′-1″ 196 SO Jonesboro, AR
5 Jalen Harris G 6′-2″ 166 JR Wilson, NC
11 JD Notae G 6′-2″ 185 JR Covington, GA
12 Ty Stevens G 6′-2″ 180 JR Republic, MO
13 Emeka Obukwelu F 6′-8″ 222 JR Plano, TX
15 Mason Jones G 6′-5″ 200 JR Desoto, TX
22 Abayomi Iyiola F 6′-9″ 210 JR Atlanta, GA
23 Connor Vanover F 7′-3″ 230 SO Little Rock, AR
24 Ethan Henderson F 6′-8″ 210 SO Little Rock, AR
33 Jimmy Whitt Jr. G 6′-3″ 175 SR Columbia, MO
35 Reggie Chaney F 6′-8″ 222 SO Tulsa, OK

Stats | RPI | Players | Scouting Report | Prediction | Time/TV

Scouting Report

Kentucky (12-4, 3-1 SEC) was stunned by South Carolina 81-78 on Wednesday in Columbia, S.C. The Wildcats appeared be on course to win building a 16-8 lead with 11:13 remaining in the first half. That lead grew to 29-18 with 3:47 to go in the half. However, the Gamecocks cut that lead to five with under two minutes to play and would head to the locker room down 33-25. In the second half Kentucky built an even bigger (54-41) lead 11:41 to play in the game on free throws by EJ Montgomery. However, over the next few minutes the Gamecocks would out-score UK 20-8 to narrow the Kentucky lead to just 62-61 with 6:16 to play. A 3-point shot by Justin Minaya with 3:42 to play put USC up 71-70. Kentucky was never able to regain the lead again. Guard Jermaine Couisnard led the Gamecocks in scoring with 26 points. Immanuel Quickley was the leading scorer for Kentucky with 20. Kentucky lost game this due to turnovers losing 15 to USC’s nine. The Gamecocks also took 92 shots (FG/3 PT) during the game compared to 70 for Kentucky. Although UK out-shot the Gamecocks from field goal range 43.6% to 39.7%, the home team made five more field goals total than UK. It’s surprising the game was as close as it was. Kentucky’s nine more made free throws than USC kept the score close.

Guard Tyrese Maxey leads the Wildcats in scoring (13.9). With 20 made threes, Maxey is also a threat from beyond the arc. Forward Nick Richards (13.1 ppg), Immanuel Quickley (13.7 ppg) and guard Ashton Hagans (13.1 ppg) are UKs other key scorers. Richards is the team’s leading rebounder, pulling down 7.7 per contest. Kentucky is 6th in the SEC in scoring offense (75.0 ppg) and 5th in scoring defense (63.7 ppg). The Cats have improved some from three point range making 32.1% of their attempts (5th/SEC). But from field goal range the Cats make a over 46% of shots, third best in the conference. UK also leads the conference in free throw shooting hitting on 76.8%. The Cats are also solid rebounders with a plus 5.6 rebounding margin.

Arkansas (14-2, 3-1 SEC) defeated Vanderbilt 75-55 on Wednesday night in Fayetteville. Vanderbilt, the heavy underdogs, competed well early on and even led 17-14 with 11:18 remaining in the half on a Dylan Disu dunk. However, Arkansas re-took the lead at 18-17 with 9:52 remaining in the first half. In the latter part of the first half the Razorbacks would lead by as much as nine before heading to halftime on top 34-28. In the second half with 16:07 remaining the Hog lead reached double digits at 43-33 after back-to-back made 3-point shots by Isaiah Joe. Vanderbilt repeatedly left the area around the basket wide open for easy layups and dunks by the Razorbacks. Offensively, the Commodore’s conditioning appeared questionable as shooting accuracy dropped off significantly in the second half. Guard Saben Lee led Vandy in scoring with 17 points. Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt Jr. led all scorers with 30 points. Whitt was the main beneficiary of Vandy’s pathetic defense inside as all but two of his points came from field goals. Vandy hit just 12 of 22 free throws (54.5%). The Hogs were even worse from the line making just 8 of 15 (53.3%). Both teams struggled from 3-point range making 25% (5 for 20) each.

For the season, guard Mason Jones (18.1 ppg) is the Hog’s leader in scoring. Sharp-shooting Isaiah Joe (17.8 ppg) is the second leading scorer. Joe has 59 made threes so far this season. Jones also leads the Hogs in rebounds (6.1 rpg).

Arkansas is scoring an average of 74.6 points per game (7th SEC). Defensively, they are allowing 61.4 points per contest (3rd SEC). The Hogs like to shoot threes. They have taken 391 attempts from beyond the arc so far this season. Only Alabama (461), Vandy (401) and Auburn (414) have taken more. The Hogs not only can shoot the three, they can defend it. Arkansas is No. 1 in the conference in 3-point shooting defense allowing just 22.8% of shots to be made. Arkansas also leads the league in steals and average 9.1 of those per game.

This is a pivotal game between two very good teams, both 3-1 in the league. The loser drops down into the middle of the standings while the winner stays in the upper cusp of the conference. Kentucky is coming off a loss at South Carolina and seems more vulnerable here, especially playing at Arkansas. This one could go either way but I think Kentucky comes away with a big road win to kind of make up for the USC debacle.

Kentucky-Arkansas Prediction

Kentucky 78, Arkansas 77


Saturday‘s game tips off at 4:00 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN.

Stats | RPI | Players | Scouting Report | Prediction | Time/TV

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