Though conference play has not treated them well so far, the Razorbacks have a chance to grab an SEC victory against the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday.
After a slim victory over Texas A&M in their first SEC matchup of the year, the Razorbacks have dropped four conference games in a row with three of the four losses coming against top-25 opponents, including the No. 1 ranked Tennessee Volunteers.
Following a 19-point loss to the Volunteers and a 17-point loss to the Ole Miss Rebels, coach Mike Anderson pointed to the lack of experience as a difference maker against veteran teams.
“I think we’ve been playing on our heels, and I think… our inexperience has shown,” Anderson said.
This year’s squad is the youngest team under Anderson’s tenure at Arkansas, with only one upperclassman on scholarship: junior Adrio Bailey.
Missouri enters the game at 10-6 on the season, fresh off its first conference victory against Texas A&M on Saturday. Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin is in his second season as the Tigers’ head coach and has a 30-19 overall record with them.
Martin’s group has been stingy on the defensive side of the ball this season, allowing just 63 points per game this season, which is 32nd best in the country, but has struggled to put points on the board, notching around 68 points per game on offense. Arkansas, on the other hand, has managed almost 80 points per game on the season but has given up an average of 74 points on defense.
Junior guard Jordan Geist and sophomore guard Mark Smith are the only two Tigers to be averaging double-figures in points this season, averaging 13.7 and 12.0, respectively. Geist is also averaging a team-high 3.2 assists per game and sophomore forward Jeremiah Tilmon leads the team in rebounds with just under six a game.
Both teams may be content to send the other side to the free throw line on Wednesday. Arkansas has continued to struggle at foul shots, shooting at a 64 percent clip, which is in the bottom 10 percent of the league and Missouri has also been troubled with free throws, shooting 69 percent from the charity stripe.
Anderson noted after the Ole Miss game that Arkansas got off to a slow start in each of its last two games and hopes that his team can start the Missouri game strong by getting a quick lead.
“We’ve got to continue to get better in a lot of different areas,” Anderson said. “I look for our guys to come out and play with a much greater sense of urgency. (This week) has been a wake-up call for our guys.”
The Razorbacks are 6-2 in its last eight matchups against Missouri but has lost two of the last three versus the Tigers.
The game will tip-off at 8 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.