SEC Conference First Round
Arkansas vs. LSU
Tip off: 1 PM EST
Spread: LSU -2
Bet at Bookmaker, Where these Odds were drawn from.
Things were going relatively well for the Razorbacks until just recently. Now losers of five of their six past games, they head into the SEC tournament with a lot of question marks. Can they manage to play better defense? Can they force more turnovers? They’ve surrendered over 70 every game during the stretch, and nearly allowed then #12 Florida to reach the century mark, losing 98 to 68 in game that was never close.
The loss last game to Mississippi State was a downer too. They gave up 51.8% shooting and allowed 15 of 27 shooting in the second half. Three Razorbacks reached double figures (BJ Young, 16; Mardracus Wade, 12; Rashd Madden, 10), but the team still only put up 59 points and shot a poor 41.1% from the floor, though they did connect on 8 of their 23 threes, which is fair. They must play stronger defense, though, and force more turnovers. They recorded only four combined steals and blocks, while turning the ball over 10 times themselves.
The Razorbacks have a very deep team, with with 11 players seeing double figure minutes and no player seeing more than 28 per game (Julysses Nobles, 28.5; Wade, 28.6).
BJ Young and Wade combine for 26.1 of the Razorbacks’ 72 points per night and both shoot high percentages from the floor (Young, 50%; Wade, 46%). That efficiency should enable Arkansas to keep this one competitive, but they will need to do their usual job of rebounding by committee. No Razorback averages more than four rebounds per game (excluding Powell’s two game season).
Arkansas Betting Trends:
Last 10 vs LSU: 5-5 SU, 7-3 ATS, 4-6 OU, Avg Score: 70.1, Avg Allowed: 62.9; Avg Total: 132.9
The Tigers wrapped up the season in horrible fashion, dropping their final three games after reeling off an impressive four game win streak that had included a victory over then #23 Mississippi State. Losses to Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Auburn marred that excitement, and perhaps even worse, only the Tennessee game was even close, while the Ole Miss game was particularly embarrassing, a 24 point loss in which they shot 31% from the floor and received only 10 points from Andre Stringer.
Stringer, a 5’9″ high volume shooter, has been his usual inefficient self. He shoots 34.6% from the floor, and that is actually an improvement over last season. He has kept his turnovers down to 1.8 per game though, after committing 2.6 per game last season. He took almost 200 threes in his freshman year, and hit less than 30%, but he will be wise to learn from the examples of other guards who have realized that they should not shoot when their strength is getting to the basket and breaking down defenses. Also, Stringer is a good defensive player, and picks up 1.2 steals per game.
Justin Hamilton has paced the scoring attack for the Tigers, though. He is putting up 13.0 points per game and also grabbing 7.2 boards per contest. He scored over 20 five times this season, including a monster 23 point, 16 board game against Ole Miss, a 26 point victory for the Tigers. He shot 9 of 12 from the field and 5 of 6 from the line, and in games in which he records at least 20, the Tigers are only 1-4, suggesting that they may be best when the ball is more evenly distributed, than always placed in Hamilton’s hands.
LSU Betting Trends:
LSU is 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games against Arkansas. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of their last 5 games against the Razorbacks and they are 15-8 SU in their last 23 games against Arkansas.