Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Preview

The Arkansas Razorbacks start home conference play on Tuesday when they host the Vanderbilt Commodores. Can the Hogs get started on the right foot?

The Arkansas Razorbacks return home to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in Bud Walton Arena, with a scheduled tipoff for 8:00pm. This is a big game for the Razorbacks, as they look to bounce of their 2 game losing streak, with their most recent loss coming at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies. This was the opening game of SEC play for the Razorbacks, and it didn’t go the way the Hogs wanted it to.

The game was lopsided from the start, as the Razorbacks lost 92-69. The Razorbacks were led in scoring by Athlon Bell who had 16 points, along with 6 rebounds. The big man in the middle Moses Kingsley, who needed to step up this for the Razorbacks, had 11 points and 7 points. Aside from Dusty Hannahs, Arkansas’ bench presence in the game was merely inexistent. Hannahs had 10 points off the bench. That must change come Tuesday night when the Razorbacks take on Vanderbilt, who are coming off an 8-point loss to LSU.

Each of Vanderbilt’s starters all scored over 10 points, led by Wade Baldwin, IV with 17 points. Baldwin was flirting around with a triple double in the game, getting 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Vanderbilt’s bench presence was equally as unimpressive.

Dec 22, 2015; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks guard Anthlon Bell (5) dribbles towards the basket past North Florida Ospreys forward Demarcus Daniels (32) in the first half at Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks won 97- 72. Mandatory Credit: Gunnar Rathbun-USA TODAY Sports

The bench combined for 17 points when they took on LSU. Vanderbilt comes into the game with a record of 8-5, with victories over St. Johns and Wake Forrest. The Commodores have had their share of close loses as well, losing to Kansas by 7, Baylor by 2, and Dayton by 5. The Razorbacks will have their work cut out for them come Tuesday night.

Keys to Victory for the Razorbacks:

  • Get the big men involved, and going early: The bigs of the Razorbacks need to get going. That’s where you saw success last season, because Bobby Portis would establish himself early. Get Moses Kinglsey the ball, and run the offense through him. If you can get Kinglsey going early, that opens up oppurtunies for the Bell, Beard, and the 3 point shooters.
  • Limit turnovers/create turnovers: Turnovers killed the Razorbacks against the Aggies. The Razorbacks had 15 turnovers. Unacceptable. Those turnovers led to more scoring opportunities for the Aggies. On the flipside, Arkansas is known for their full court press defense and creating turnovers. For a team that struggling scoring, create turnovers that lead to easy scoring opportunities on the other end.
  • 3-point shooting: The Razorbacks shot 37% from behind the arc against Texas A&M (6 of 16 from the field). This ties into my first key of the game. If you get the big men involved early, your three point shooters will get looks. It then comes down to converting those scoring opportunities.
  • Luck of the Irish: Because every team needs a little luck, right?

The Razorbacks are in a must win position for the rest of the year, especially with their home games. Can the Razorbacks break their two game losing streak? We’ll find out on Tuesday. Stay tuned to the Razorbackers Official Twitter account for live game updates, as well as postgame material.

Game Time: 8:00pm
Radio: 103.7 The Buzz
Television: SEC Network, ESPN3.com

TV Channel Listings:

AT&T U-verse
Ch. 607 / 1607 HD
Alt. 608 / 1608 HD and 609 / 1609 HD

DIRECTV
Ch. 611
Alt. 611-1

DISH
Ch. 408 or Hopper Ch. 404
Alt. 596-597 and Hopper Alt. 404.1-404.2
Verizon FiOS
Ch. 75 / 575 HD