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GAMETHREAD: Basketball vs. Arkansas, 2:30pm, SEC Network

Tigers seek second series sweep of the season

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Returning home from a tough road trip that saw them finish on the wrong end of two 20+ point blowouts, the LSU Tigers (12-9, 3-6) look to double their conference win total from last year against the Arkansas Razorbacks (15-7, 4-5). The two teams previously met in Bud Walton Arena on January 10th, a huge 75-54 victory in LSU’s favor. That was Arkansas’ first and only loss at home this season.

The Razorbacks have won four of their last six games, including a one point win over Oklahoma State and a double overtime win over Georgia. They play a very quick tempo when they have the ball, and can be one of the best shooting teams in the conference at times. Like LSU, however, Arkansas can struggle to shut down well-shooting teams. The Razorbacks allow a conference-worst effective FG% of 54.9%, and have the second worst defensive efficiency in the SEC.

The Tigers return two backups in Wayde Sims and Brandon Rachal after they were suspended for Wednesday’s contest against Tennessee. With their return, LSU’s roster returns to 11 active, 9 scholarship players. After the dismissal of Mayan Kiir and Galen Alexander, the Tigers will have to play the second half of their SEC schedule with only three active forwards, as if Duop Reath and Aaron Epps weren’t already spread thin.

One of the largest contributors to the Razorbacks’ success this season has been senior Jaylen Barford. The 6’3” small forward leads his team in scoring and minutes played, and shoots an incredible 44.7% from beyond the arc. Barford has yet to score less than 11 points in conference play, and is averaging 20.4 points against SEC teams.

Projected Arkansas Razorbacks Starting 5

#0 SF - Jaylen Barford: 18.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 31.3 minutes

#4 PG - Daryl Macon: 16.7 PPG, 4.0 APG, 31.2 minutes

#10 C - Daniel Gafford: 11.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 22.0 minutes

#31 SG - Anton Beard: 9.8 PPG, 3.0 APG, 29.9 minutes

#1 C - Trey Thompson: 3.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 17.9 minutes

This afternoon’s contest will tip off at 2:30pm in the PMAC, and will be televised on the SEC Network. You can listen to the game on the radio on 98.1 FM, or follow along in the comments below.