Date: Wednesday, January 15
Time: 7:30pm CDT
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 26-12
Most Recent Matchup: March 2019, Arkansas won 84-48.
2019-20 Record: 8-7 (0-2)
Head Coach: Jerry Stackhouse (1st season)
Vanderbilt is starting over again. 17 years with Kevin Stallings ended when Bryce Drew was hired. Drew was unsuccessful. He had a great tenure at Valpo, but Vanderbilt won fewer games each year he was there. Now the Commodores reset with an outside the box hire. Jerry Stackhouse had a long NBA career and served as an NBA assistant coach.
Unfortunately, for Stackhouse, Vanderbilt will be without SEC leading scorer for the rest of the season. Aaron Nesmith, who was averaging 23.0 ppg, has a stress fracture in his foot. Leading rebounder Clevon Brown is also out indefinitely with a knee injury. Vanderbilt has some talent, but no depth. Saban Lee and Scotty Pippen Jr. are good players, but there just is not help around those guys now. Saban Lee will likely win the SEC Sixth Man of Year award. He is averaging 15.7ppg off the bench most games. I would assume he would be inserted into the starting lineup in Nesmith’s absence.
2019-20 Record: 13-2 (2-1)
Head Coach: Eric Musselman (1st season)
Arkansas has a chance to start the season 14-2 with a win on Wednesday night. This would be the first time Arkansas has been 14-2 since beating Florida in Bud Walton Arena on January 14, 1998. Eric Musselman would be the first Arkansas Head Coach to start his tenure at 14-2 through 16 games. Three other Arkansas coaches have started 13-3.
What Arkansas cannot do is look passed Vanderbilt. Kentucky comes to the Hill on Saturday and BWA is already sold-out. The hogs cannot afford to lose this game. As it stands now, it would be a Q3 win or loss for the Hogs, but Vandy is not going to win very many more games this year. I fully expect it to drop to a Q4. Arkansas has to be ready to play. There are no nights off in the SEC.
These are 2 totally different teams. Arkansas is an NCAA Tournament team (currently) and Vanderbilt is the worst team in the SEC without its’ leading scorer and leading rebounder.
Arkansas has momentum building and Vanderbilt is reeling from losing their star player.
Bud Walton will be rocking and the Hogs will cruise to an easy win.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 77, Vanderbilt 62
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!