Date: Wednesday, March 11
Time: 25 minutes after Game 1 of the SEC Tournament. I would guess around 8:30pm.
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 27-12
Most Recent Matchup: January 2020, Arkansas won 75-55.
2019-20 Record: 11-20 (3-15)
Head Coach: Jerry Stackhouse (1st season)
It has been a rough season for Vanderbilt to start the Jerry Stackhouse Era. Season-ending injuries to outstanding player Aaron Nesmith and starting big man Clevon Brown contributed to the abysmal season. Despite that, Vanderbilt has won 2 straight to ruin NCAA Tournament hopes for Alabama and South Carolina. Junior Guard Saban Lee had 38 points against Alabama. Lee has been the best player for the Commodores since Nesmith’s injury. Arkansas has to slow Lee and Scotty Pippin Jr. down.
2019-20 Record: 19-12 (7-11)
Head Coach: Eric Musselman (1st season)
March is here and Arkansas finds themselves on the outside looking in. It will likely take the Hogs making it to the SEC Tournament semifinals to be back on the bubble. Truthfully, the Hogs may have to win the whole thing to get in. An at-large big may be too much to ask. Unfortunately, Arkansas needs help from other teams on the bubble.
Jimmy Whitt scored 30 points against Vanderbilt back in January. Arkansas cruised to a 20 point win at home, but this is a different Vanderbilt team now. In the January matchup, Vanderbilt was trying to adjust to life without Nesmith and Brown. The Commodores now know who they are so Arkansas cannot take this game lightly.
Arkansas is 4-1 all-time against Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament. I think Arkansas got a favorable draw for the SEC Tournament. I think they can make a run based on the teams they will likely play. None of that matters if they don’t take care of business tonight.
Slow down Saban Lee, get back to defending the way we did early in the season, and hit shots. That is the recipe for victory tonight.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 77, Vanderbilt 69
Like many in our state, I didn’t have a choice in who my favorite team would be growing up. I was raised on Razorback. I remember watching the early season games on ARSN or conference games on JP Sports. My first favorite players were Brandon Dean and Joe Johnson. Great memories. I never thought years ago I would be writing about Arkansas Basketball. I don’t have a journalism background or anything like that. When given the opportunity, I wanted to challenge myself with something new and it has been a blast!