Date: Wednesday, February 26
Time: 7:30pm CDT
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
All-Time Series: Tennessee leads 22-20
Most Recent Matchup: February 2020, Tennessee won, 82-61.
2019-20 Record: 15-12 (7-7)
Head Coach: Rick Barnes (5th season, 103-62)
Since the start of February, Tennessee has alternated wins and losses. The Volunteers have the toughest 5 game stretch to end the season in the SEC. They play @ Auburn, @ Arkansas, Florida, @ Kentucky, and Auburn. That is a brutal stretch. With rival Florida on the horizon for Tennessee, Arkansas has to hope they catch the Vols thinking about the Gators.
Senior Guard Jordan Bowden has been key in Tennessee’s recent wins. He averages 13.6ppg for the season, but in those 3 most recent wins he has averaged 17.7ppg. Bowden and Freshman Santiago Vescovi had things easy against Arkansas a few weeks ago. If those guards have their way again, Tennessee will win.
2019-20 Record: 17-10 (5-9)
Head Coach: Eric Musselman (1st season)
Isaiah Joe is back and back with a vengeance! Joe’s performance on Saturday left everyone in shock. Not only did he return just 3 weeks after surgery, but Joe scored 21 points in 38 minutes. Head Coach Eric Musselman said on Monday that after the game Isaiah’s knee was still in good shape.
Offensively, the Razorbacks looked like a different team with Joe back. There was spacing and driving lanes that hadn’t been around since Joe’s injury. That made all the difference Saturday and I am hopeful it will be all the difference in the final 4 games.
The Hogs look to build momentum after getting back in the win column on Saturday. That momentum couldn’t come at better time because they find themselves on the outside looking in for the an NCAA Tournament Bid.
I think Arkansas has their swagger back. Is Missouri good? No. Did Arkansas play a dominant game? No, but they know the feeling of winning again. The offense wasn’t stagnant with Isaiah Joe. Tennessee has lost 4 of their last 5 on the road and I believe in the magic of Bud Walton Arena.
This will be a good game. Arkansas played its’ best defense in a month in the 2nd half against Missouri. It will take that same effort to slow down Bowden and Vescovi. BWA has not been kind to Tennessee lately. The Vols haven’t won in Fayetteville since 2009 and are just 4-10 all-time.
You may call me overly optimistic, but I am taking the Hogs.
Score Prediction: Arkansas 75, Tennessee 70
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!