After upsetting Texas A&M 69-68 with a last second prayer from Tremont Waters, the Tigers (10-4, 1-1) travel to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks (11-4, 1-2). LSU is looking for their second conference victory in three games after finishing 2-16 in the SEC last season.
The Tigers have had a little trouble following up big wins this season, going 0-3 after their victories over Michigan, Houston, and Memphis. Each of those big wins were followed by really tough opponents, and tonight is no exception. While the Razorbacks lost their last two games against Auburn and Mississippi State, they still field one of the toughest offenses in the nation.
KenPom currently ranks Arkansas 27th overall, forty spots ahead of LSU at 67th. Their offensive adjusted efficiency is good for 16th best in the country, and they’re a top 30 team in 3pt and 2pt shooting percentage. Simply put, this is another one of those games where LSU will need to play better on defense if they want to have a chance at a W. One particular key to the game that sticks out is Arkansas’ weakness at shooting free throws. At a combined 67.6% from the charity stripe, the Razorbacks rank an abysmal 277th.
Arkansas is a different challenge than Texas A&M, who have now lost their first four SEC games of the season. The Aggies’ strength is their defense, and were missing two starters when the Tigers visited College Station. Arkansas matches up with LSU a bit less favorably, and KenPom currently favors the home team by ten points. Don’t let their recent skid fool you; the Razorbacks could be the toughest SEC matchup for LSU all season. At least until they travel to Auburn.
Projected Arkansas Razorbacks Starting 5
#0 SF - Jaylen Barford: 18.9 PPG, 3.5 APG, 30.7 minutes
#4 PG - Daryl Macon: 16.7 PPG, 3.8 APG, 31.0 minutes
#31 SG - Anton Beard: 11.7 PPG, 2.9 APG, 30.1 minutes
#10 C - Daniel Gafford: 12.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 21.5 minutes
#1 C - Trey Thompson: 3.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 17.5 minutes
Tonight’s game tips off in the Bud Walton Arena at 8pm and will be televised on the SEC Network. You can also listen on the radio on 98.1 FM, or follow along in the comments below.