Arkansas Takes on Syracuse Friday
Arkansas will play No. 6 Syracuse Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas enters the game with 3-2 record while Syracuse enters with a 4-0 record.
Arkansas is coming off a disappointing visit to the Las Vegas Invitational last week. The Hogs fell to Arizona State in their first game and Wisconsin in the consolation game. This was viewed as a measuring stick for this team, and they still have a lot to work on.
Syracuse has looked very tough both offensively and defensively this year. They have not allowed over 60 points in a game thus far, and have beaten previously-ranked No. 20 San Diego State.
Syracuse is lead by top scorers Brandon Triche and James Southerland. Along with these scorers, they are in the top-30 teams in the nation in rebounding. Arkansas has lost the rebounding battle in both of their losses, which is an area they must correct against Syracuse.
Arkansas is being led in scoring by sophomore B.J. Young again this year. Marshawn Powell has been inconsistent thus far, as he is coming off of ACL surgery that cut his year short last season.
Coty Clarke has been a matchup problem for the Hogs. He grabbed 11 rebounds last game, and he must continue to do so all year.
Arkansas has been forcing opponents into turnovers, but they need to create more for easy basket opportunities against an athletic Syracuse team. Syracuse possesses a lot of talent at the guard position, so not giving up easy points while pressing will be key.
One of the guards for Syracuse is sophomore Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams is averaging eight assists per game and his assist to turnover ratio is 2.4. Along with veteran guard Triche, they have the ability to break down opposing defenses and limit turnovers.
Arkansas’ guards will be equally as important. Young is averaging six assists for every turnover committed and Rashad Madden is second on the team with 2.2 assists per game. Rickey Scott and Mardracus Wade will also need to be cognitive of taking care of the ball and create easy scores.
The game will come down to who rebounds and protects the ball better than the other. Both teams have players who can score, but those two areas could be the deciding factor to who wins the game.
Arkansas experienced a setback in dropping two games in Las Vegas, while Syracuse looks to continue their winning ways Friday night. Syracuse is led by a veteran coach Jim Boeheim, and they will be ready for Arkansas’ “Fastest 40.”
This game is part of the Big East-Southeastern Conference challenge that has become a staple over the past few years. Arkansas faced UConn last year in this challenge and lost 75-62 and Syracuse will be equally as tough.
Arkansas looks to be more consistent offensively and use the home crowd to their advantage in this game. This game could come to the last few possessions and who rebounds and takes care of the ball the best.