Alabama basketball vs. Arkansas Razorbacks: Scouting report, score prediction

·4 min read

Alabama basketball has an Arkansas team coming to town Saturday that finds itself in an interesting spot.

The Razorbacks are fresh off a significant victory, having beat Auburn 80-76 in overtime on Tuesday. They're the first team to beat the Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25, since Connecticut on Nov. 24.

And that game was in double overtime in the Bahamas. Auburn hadn't lost since until Tuesday.

It was no small feat for Arkansas to pull off the victory, and it's worth celebrating if you're the Razorbacks.

But not for too long. Alabama might not be the No. 1 team in the country; the Crimson Tide isn't ranked right now. But Alabama has shown that it, too, can beat top teams. See the wins over Gonzaga, Houston and Baylor.

"We've got to turn the page," Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said on The Paul Finebaum Show this week.

It's one thing for the coach to say it. It's another thing for the players to come out sharp after a momentous victory.

Alabama (15-9, 5-6 SEC) will look to stop the celebrating when it faces Arkansas (19-5, 8-3) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Coleman Coliseum. The game will be televised on SEC Network.

Here's a look at Arkansas and a prediction.

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Arkansas' streaky season

The Razorbacks season has been a season of runs.

First Arkansas started the year on a nine-game winning streak. Then it lost five of the next six. Now, it's on another nine-win streak.

The Razorbacks have moved to No. 22 in KenPom and No. 31 in NET rankings.

Arkansas now has two Quad 1 wins with a 2-3 record. It is also 6-0 in Quad 2 for a combined 8-3 in the first two quads.

By comparison, Alabama is No. 22 in NET with a 6-5 Quad 1 record and a 9-7 record in the first two quads.

What hurts the ranking for both squads are Quad 3 losses. Both Alabama and Arkansas have two Quad 3 losses each.

Numbers to know

Arkansas' defense has been strong down the stretch.

Over the most recent nine-game winning streak, Arkansas' defense has held eight opponents to under 40% from the field.

Those efforts on defense this season have Arkansas in the top 25 defensively, per KenPom. The Razorbacks are No. 25 in defensive efficiency.

Meanwhile, Arkansas is No. 55 in offensive efficiency. The Razorbacks are among the worst in the conference shooting from beyond the arc at a mark of 30.6%. That ranks second-to-last to Missouri (27.8%). Alabama sits at No. 10, now 31.5% from 3-point range.

Overall, Arkansas is No. 4 in points per game with 78.6 behind Kentucky (81.4), Alabama (80.9) and Auburn (80.2).

Also, the Razorbacks lead the country in free-throw attempts (554) and free-throws made (411).

Players to watch

Alabama's focus will have to be on slowing senior guard JD Notae and sophomore forward Jaylin Williams.

Both turned in phenomenal games in the win over Auburn. Notae finished with 28 points, five rebounds, four blocks and three steals. Williams had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards. He also had two steals.

Notae is having one of the best seasons in the SEC. He leads the conference with 19.1 points per game. He also has the most steals of any SEC player with 55. He's second in steals per game (2.5). Notae was the SEC coaches' pick for sixth man of the year last season.

Meanwhile, Williams has been a force for Arkansas. He's second in the conference with 9.2 rebounds per game and fifth with 31 blocks.

Prediction

Alabama 72, Arkansas 68: The Razorbacks impressed against Auburn, but they experience a bit of a hangover from that big win. If Alabama shoots similar to how it did against Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide will pick up another SEC victory.

Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: nkelly@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama basketball vs. Arkansas Razorbacks: Scouting report, score prediction