FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — You might have forgotten after Arkansas lost by 28 points to Oklahoma State over the weekend, but the Razorbacks won their past four SEC basketball games. A fifth would put coach Mike Anderson’s team in prime position to keep its projected NCAA Tournament spot over the back half of conference play.
Alabama visits Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday as the Tide and Razorbacks battle for a potential Dance invitation. It’s the teams’ only meeting this season. The Crimson Tide enter a game ahead of Arkansas in the SEC standings. A Razorbacks win would give the teams identical records, but Arkansas would own a tiebreaker.
A fifth consecutive SEC win would give Arkansas its longest conference winning streak since the 2014-15 season, in which the Razorbacks made the third round of the NCAA Tournament. That team was a No. 5-seed. This year’s Arkansas team would be a 10-seed right now, according to both CBS Sports and Fox Sports. ESPN’s Bracketology has Arkansas as a No. 9.
The trick for Arkansas will be pace. Anderson prefers a quicker tempo, pressuing on defense and forcing a lot of shots by the opponent. Those shots tend to not go down as often in the second half when opponents tire and Arkansas jumps.
Alabama is the opposite. The Tide is the slowest-paced team in the SEC. And they rebound. The Crimson Tide are somewhat like Texas A&M, a team Arkansas defeated this season, in that they are good up front but lack a bit at guard.
If Arkansas guards own Alabama’s more than Alabama’s frontcourt owns Arkansas’, it’ll be a Razorbacks win. If the reverse happens, Arkansas will have a lot of work to do get back into the NCAA Tournament picture.
What time is tip-off?
The game begins at 6 p.m. CT at Bud Walton Arena
What TV channel is showing the game?
You can find the game on SEC Network over the air or on the WatchESPN app.
Who is calling the Arkansas-Oklahoma State game?
Dave Neal has the play-by-play, while Chris Spatola provides the color.
Looking at Alabama
Alabama has 1 player averaging double-figures in scoring. It is 12th in both field-goal and 3-point shooting. The Crimson Tide are not good at the free-throw line, converting 64 percent of their attempts.
What Avery Johnson’s team does do, though, is rebound. Alabama’s rebounding margin is second in the conference — to Texas A&M — and the Tide are tops in the SEC in defensive rebounding. Throw in the SEC’s No. 4 field-goal percentage defense and Alabama is a team all about the grind.
As far as mutual opponents go, there are several:
Texas — Arkansas beat, Alabama lost
Mississippi State — Arkansas lost, Alabama beat twice
Vanderbilt — Both beat
LSU — Both beat
Florida — Both lost
Missouri — Both beat