Date: Saturday, December 7
Time: 6:30pm CDT
TV/Streaming: CBS Sports Network
All-Time Series: Arkansas leads 4-3.
Most Recent Matchup: December 2018, Western Kentucky won, 78-77
2019-20 Record: 6-3
Head Coach: Rick Stansbury (68-45, 4th season)
Last season, Western Kentucky had one of the most talented rosters among mid-major schools, but injuries and suspensions plagued them. It ended in underwhelming fashion for the Hilltoppers. A 20-14 record with no postseason appearance.
In year 4, Rick Stansbury is hoping for some better luck. WKU is off to a 6-3 start with a team that returns 75.2% of scoring from last year. Despite returning most of the team, there have been a few head scratching losses so far. Two 2 point losses: Bowling Green and Wright State.
Charles Bassey is the most talented player on this team. He was a top 10 recruit and tested the NBA draft waters last year before deciding to return to school. 15.9ppg and 9.6rpg. Camron Justice, Taveion Hollingsworth, and Carson Williams all average double figures as well. This team can score the ball, but they haven’t been great on defense. WKU is giving up 70.3ppg this season which ranks 218th in the nation.
2019-20 Record: 8-0
Head Coach: Eric Musselman (1st season)
After 2 less than stellar performances, Arkansas will have to find a way to be better against Western Kentucky on Saturday. While the defense has been great all season, the Hogs allowed driving lanes all game that led to easy baskets and open 3s.
Arkansas was very efficient on Tuesday night when they didn’t turn the ball over. 20 turnovers though made it an ugly game to watch. If the Hogs can remain efficient and keep the turnover count down than this team has some real potential.
Ethan Henderson gave Arkansas a spark against Austin Peay and he may be needed to help contain Bassey. Desi Sills, Jalen Harris, and Isaiah Joe all hit from 3. Maybe this team is starting to turn it around offensively.
I can debate myself in to predicting a win for either team.
Charles Bassey will be the focus of the Arkansas defense. WKU has plenty of scorers on this team and they shoot the 3 ball very well. Arkansas will have to pick its’ poison. The front court for the Hogs must stay out of foul trouble for Arkansas to have any chance.
Western Kentucky doesn’t play anyone with size other than Bassey and they aren’t a particularly a good rebounding team.
This should be a close game.
Before the season I predicted a loss to WKU and my opinion hasn’t changed.
Score Prediction: Western Kentucky 74, Arkansas 66
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!