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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 5, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bud Walton Arena (19,200) -- Fayetteville, Arkansas. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: Alabama 9-4, Arkansas 11-2. Away Record: Alabama 0-5, Arkansas 0-4. Neutral Record: Alabama 0-3, Arkansas 2-2. Conference Record: Alabama 3-4, Arkansas 2-6. Series Record: Arkansas leads, 28-27.
GAME NOTES: Both the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Arkansas Razorbacks attempt to halt their respective two-game losing streaks on Wednesday night when the SEC rivals clash at Bud Walton Arena.
After dropping a Jan. 30 road game at Auburn (74-55) and losing at home to Tennessee on Saturday (76-59), Alabama slipped to just 9-12 on the season and 3-4 in league play. To make matters worse for this matchup, the Tide have gone winless in five road contest and are 0-8 away from home when adding neutral- court bouts.
Arkansas has also been trending in the wrong direction fast. After starting the season 12-4, it has lost four out of five, most recently falling on the wrong end of an 88-74 decision at LSU on Saturday. The Razorbacks carry some hope into this matchup, however, since they are 11-2 at Bud Walton Arena on the season.
Arkansas leads the all-time series with Alabama, 28-27, but the Tide have closed the gap in recent years with four straight victories.
The Tide were embarrassed on their home floor over the weekend, getting out shot from the field, 47.9 percent to 39.2 percent, while shooting a lowly 3- of-15 from 3-point range on their way to the 17-point setback. Trevor Releford was stellar despite the loss, shooting 7-of-15 from the field and 7-of-8 at the foul line for 23 points and six assists. Nick Jacobs came off the bench to register 13 points and six rebounds.
Alabama's strongest attribute this season has been its play on the defensive end of the floor, allowing opponents to shoot just 42.2 percent from the field for 67.8 ppg while boasting a +1.0 turnover margin. Unfortunately its offensive attack (.446 FG percentage, 69.3 ppg) has not been up to par. Releford is one of the SEC's top guards with 18.3 ppg and 2.1 spg and has shown great efficiency, shooting 49.8 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from beyond the arc and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line. Retin Obasohan (11.7 ppg) is an elite defender, sporting 2.2 spg and 1.2 bpg, while Levi Randolph (9.0 ppg) and Jacobs (8.7 ppg) are also regular contributors.
The Razorbacks fell behind LSU by 15 at the half of their most recent tilt and never approached the lead the rest of the way, as they shot a mere 32.9 percent from the field and allowed the Tigers to net 54.7 percent of their shots. Only an outstanding 25-of-27 showing at the free-throw line saved an even greater blowout. Rashad Madden was only 4-of-15 from the floor by made all eight of his free-throw tries for 17 points. Bobby Portis and Kikko Haydar both netted 15 points, while Coty Clarke chipped in 10 points.
Even with its struggles of late, Arkansas still boasts the SEC's top scoring offense, pouring in 82.0 ppg on nearly 45 percent field goal shooting. It also has a league-best +6.3 turnover margin, a number twice as high as the second- place team, which helps mask a less-than-stellar scoring defense (70.5 ppg). Madden is the top scoring threat with 13.2 ppg, draining a team-best 35 3- pointers at a 44.9 percent clip. Portis mans the paint with 12.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 1.3 bpg, Michael Qualls adds 11.7 ppg and the deep squad has eight others who score between 3.3 and 9.1 ppg.
Although neither team can be trusted at this point in the season, Arkansas' homecourt advantage going up against an Alabama team that has yet to record a road win should result in the Razorbacks returning to the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas 79, Alabama 73
02/05 10:35:23 ET
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