NOT A SUBSCRIBER? SIGN UP TODAY FOR ACCESS TO ALL OF HAWGBEAT’S PREMIUM CONTENT AND FEATURES
The Arkansas Razorbacks (19-10, 8-8 SEC) have the opportunity to knock off the No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers (21-8, 10-6) and gain a Quad 1 road win Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Arkansas is coming off a close 86-83 loss at No. 2 Alabama that featured three Hogs scoring at least 20 points, including freshman Nick Smith Jr., who scored 24 against the Crimson Tide and earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors on Monday.
Tennessee snapped a two-game losing streak with a dominant 85-45 beatdown against South Carolina on Saturday. The game featured the return of senior forward Josiah-Jordan James, who had missed the previous four games for the Volunteers.
“His presence has such a major impact on our team because he’s been in so many big opportunities, big-game situations,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said after the game. “I think his presence takes a lot of pressure off of guys. He gives his teammates a comfort. I thought when he came on the floor tonight in the first half he was obviously terrific. I thought he played with great poise and pace.”
Though James is back, the Volunteers have a pair of key players that will be game-time decisions — Julian Phillips (hip flexer) and Tyreke Key (ankle).
Arkansas, on the other hand, has finally found a rotation that it can rely on down the stretch. Though the Razorbacks were down by 12 with three minutes left in Saturday’s loss to Alabama, they fought back and had a chance to tie the game on the final possession. It was a tough loss, but head coach Eric Musselman acknowledged his team’s fight afterwards.
“This Alabama team is obviously ranked second in the country, and playing at home it hadn’t lost a game,” Musselman said. “I thought our effort was tremendous. Some guys played really well, and we had some guys struggle today. That’s happened to us on the road. But, we’ve got to get back and a quick turnaround obviously for Tennessee.”
The Volunteers are ranked in the top 10 by almost every service other than the Associated Press, and that includes KenPom, who has them at No. 4 overall and No. 1 in defensive efficiency. Tennessee’s opponents have scored just 56.7 points per game this season, so the Hogs will have to be on their A-game offensively if they want to steal a victory on the road.
Here are details on how to watch/listen, notes, projected lineups, stats, odds and more for Tuesday’s game between Arkansas and Tennessee:
~ This will be the 47th meeting between Arkansas and Tennessee. All but four have come since Arkansas joined the SEC in the 1991-92 season. Tennessee is one of three SEC teams to lead the all-time series with Arkansas (Florida and Kentucky). The Vols own a slight 24-22 advantage in the series, including a 23-19 cushion since the Hogs joined the SEC.
~ The Volunteers are 15-4 against Arkansas in games played in Knoxville.
~ Rick Barnes is 3-2 in head-to-head matchups with Eric Musselman.
~ Tuesday marks the fourth straight meeting in this series for which Tennessee has been ranked No. 16 or higher in the AP Top 25.
~ In a weird schedule quirk, Arkansas and Tennessee only play once in 2022-23, marking the fifth time over nine years the schools will have a single-game series. Four of those five have one thing in common … they’ve been played in Thompson-Boling Arena (2017, 2019, 2021 and 2023). Since 2014 and including Tuesday, Arkansas will be playing in Knoxville for the ninth time as compared to five meetings being played in Fayetteville and two at the SEC Tournament.
~ Arkansas had its streak of shooting at least 44% from the field snapped at 12 straight games, shooting just 41.4% at Alabama. However, Arkansas still leads the SEC (and ranks 22nd in the NCAA) in field goal percentage at 48.3%. In SEC games, the Hogs lead the league in FG% (.472).
~ Despite going 3-3 over its last six games, Arkansas has climbed from 28th to 14th in the NET rankings.
~ Tennessee and Baylor are the only teams in the country that own at least three wins over teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the NET ratings.
~ During SEC play, Tennessee leads the league in scoring defense (58.8 ppg), assists per game (16.7) and assist/turnover ratio (1.54). The Volunteers own Division I’s best 3-point defense (.247), second best field-goal percentage defense (.359) and the nation’s third-best scoring defense (56.7 ppg).
How to Watch/Listen
Who: Arkansas Razorbacks (19-10, 8-8 SEC) at No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers (21-8, 10-6 SEC)
When: Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. CT
Where: Knoxville, Tenn. – Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678)/The Summitt
Television: ESPN2 (Karl Ravech, Jimmy Dykes, Marty Smith)
Stream/Online: Watch ESPN
Radio: Learfield Razorback Sports Network (Chuck Barrett and Matt Zimmerman)
Gameday Info and How to Listen Online/Mobile: Razorback Gameday App
Sirius/XM: 380 (Sirius) / 380 (XM) || SXM App: Channel 976
#0 – G Anthony Black – Fr., 6’7″, 198 lbs.
2022-23 Stats per game: 34.7 min, 12.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals, 3.1 turnovers, 0.5 blocks, 46.2 fg%, 31.6 3fg%
#3 – G Nick Smith Jr. – Fr., 6’5″, 185 lbs.
2022-23 Stats per game: 23.9 min, 12.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.1 turnovers, 0.1 blocks, 40.5 fg%, 35.9 3fg%
#4 – G Davonte Davis – Jr., 6’4″, 185 lbs.
2022-23 Stats per game: 33.3 min, 10.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 2.1 turnovers, 0.1 blocks, 41.4 fg%, 34.0 3fg%
#13 – G/F Jordan Walsh – Fr., 6’7″, 205 lbs.
2022-23 Stats per game: 24.1 min, 7.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 turnovers, 0.5 blocks, 45.1 fg%, 28.8 3fg%
#15 – F Makhi Mitchell – Sr., 6’9″, 230 lbs.
2022-23 Stats per game: 20.0 min, 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.9 turnovers, 1.4 blocks, 66.1 fg%, 100 3fg%
Tennessee (lineup from Feb. 25)
#5 – G Zakai Zeigler – So., 5’9″, 171 lbs.
2022 Stats per game: 29.6 min, 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 2.3 turnovers, 0.2 blocks, 37.3 fg%, 31.1 3fg%
#25 – G Santiago Vescovi – Sr., 6’3″, 192 lbs.
2022 Stats per game: 32.3 min, 12.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.5 turnovers, 0.1 blocks, 39.0 fg%, 34.9 3fg%
#15 – G Jahmai Mashack – So., 6’4″, 201 lbs.
2022 Stats per game: 16.9 min, 4.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.0 turnovers, 0.3 blocks, 41.0 fg%, 31.0 3fg%
#13 – F Olivier Nkamhoua – Sr., 6’9″, 236 lbs.
2022 Stats per game: 25.6 min, 10.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.8 turnovers, 0.7 blocks, 51.4 fg%, 32.4 3fg%
#0 – F Jonas Aidoo – So., 6’11”, 241 lbs.
2022 Stats per game: 17.4 min, 4.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.8 turnovers, 1.3 blocks, 48.7 fg%, 29.4 3fg%
Vegas: Arkansas is a 7.5-point underdog (BetSaracen)
ESPN: Tennessee has an 84.4% chance to win
(some information courtesy of Arkansas and Tennessee Communications)
**JOIN THE CONVERSATION WITH ARKANSAS FANS ON THE TROUGH, HAWGBEAT’S PREMIUM MESSAGE BOARD**