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Arkansas (14-8) at Vanderbilt (8-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 1:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Gymnasium (14,316) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: Arkansas 14-1, Vanderbilt 5-5. Away Record: Arkansas 0-5, Vanderbilt 2-5. Neutral Record: Arkansas 0-2, Vanderbilt 1-3. Conference Record: Arkansas 5-4, Vanderbilt 2-7. Series Record: Arkansas leads, 18-9.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off their biggest victory of the season, the Arkansas Razorbacks will try to keep the momentum going when they visit Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville for an SEC showdown with the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Arkansas hosted Florida on Tuesday night and shocked the nation's No. 2 team with an 80-69 triumph to move above .500 in SEC play this season at 5-4. The win continued the Razorbacks' outstanding campaign at home, where they have won 14 of 15 games, but now they head back out on the road trying for their first win away from Fayetteville this season.
Vanderbilt fought hard on the road at LSU on Wednesday night but a late rally fell short as it dropped a 57-56 decision, for its season-long fourth straight defeat. Success for the Commodores has been fleeting at best during the 2012-13 campaign, as they are just 8-13 overall and their 2-7 conference mark places them in a three-way tie for last place in the SEC with both Mississippi State and South Carolina.
The Razorbacks have doubled up Vanderbilt in the all-time series, 18-9, which includes a 56-33 home victory in the first meeting this season back on Jan. 12.
Arkansas opened up a 17-point lead at the half against Florida and its advantage was never in doubt down the stretch, and it defeated a ranked team in Bud Walton Arena for the fourth time in the past two seasons. The Razorbacks shot greater than 49 percent from the field in the win and had seven players net at least seven points, paced by BJ Young (13 points, five assists), Marshawn Powell (11 points) and Michael Qualls (11 points). Arkansas averages 77.1 ppg, second to only Ole Miss in the SEC, but it has been a completely different team on the road, as that number plummets to a mere 58.4 ppg. Young is one of the conference's most dangerous playmakers, ranking third in scoring (16.5 ppg) on 46.2 percent shooting from the field, while logging more than twice as many assists (86) as turnovers (40). Powell is the Razorbacks' answer in the frontcourt with 15.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg and more than a block and a steal per outing as well.
Vanderbilt trailed LSU for nearly the entire game the last time out, and while a Rod Odom 3-pointer with 10 seconds left capped off a 6-1 run in the final minute to bring the game to one possession, the team could not complete the comeback. The Commodores were plagued by an awful shooting performance, as they made just 17-of-54 attempts from the floor (.315), which spoiled a stellar defensive effort which held LSU to 14 points fewer than its season average. Odom finished with a career-high 20 points, shooting 5-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Dai-Jon Parker was also solid with 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Vanderbilt consistently puts together strong efforts on defense, holding foes to a mere 61.2 ppg, but it has a poor record due to the SEC's worst scoring offense (59.2 ppg). Kedren Johnson averages 14.5 ppg to pace the squad, and he dishes out 3.2 apg as well. Kyle Fuller (9.7 ppg) and Odom (9.7 ppg) are the only other consistent options for the 'Dores.
The Razorbacks' road woes have been well-documented, and even with their upset victory earlier in the week, they can't be considered a true contender until they show they can win away from Bud Walton Arena. Vandy's defense should be up to the challenge, but it won't be enough to slow down a confident Arkansas squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas 65, Vanderbilt 60
02/09 10:33:53 ET
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