Listen to Hogs-Bulldogs this evening here or ESPN Arkansas radio
Razorbacks have a five-game SEC winning streak, Mississippi State on a four-game overall winning skid coming into town.
Who: Arkansas Razorbacks (17-7, 6-5 SEC) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (16-8, 4-7 SEC)
What: Arkansas has won five-straight SEC games and Mississippi State is riding a four-game win streak.
When: Saturday – Feb. 11 – 5 pm (CT)
Where: Nolan Richardson Court at Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Ark.
Television: ESPNU (Michael Eaves and Dane Bradshaw)
Listen Online: HitThatLine.com
Radio: ESPN Arkansas 99.5 in Fayetteville, 95.3 in the River Valley, 96.3 in Hot Springs, 104.3 in Harrison-Mountain Home (Chuck Barrett and Matt Zimmerman).
Sirius/XM: 137 (Sirius)-190 (XM) • SXM App: Channel 961
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — For the first time in 11 days, Arkansas will play a home men’s basketball game, hosting Mississippi State on Saturday.
Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
The talk this week hasn’t been about the game as much as whether freshman Nick Smith will play for the first time this year after some sort of knee injury.
There are no guarantees from coach Eric Musselman one way or the other, but Smith indicated he would be playing Saturday on an Instagram Live post that several teammates are obviously thinking the same thing.
“Nick has practiced the last few days with us,” Musselman said Wednesday. “Obviously he did not go on the road trip so he could continue to stay back here and work on his conditioning. We’re optimistic and hopeful that Nick will be able to play some time here in the near future.”
Considering the game against the Bulldogs, who are riding a four-game winning streak into town, is the next one it’s the assumption everyone is making.
Musselman’s Scouting Report Wednesday
“The biggest thing with Mississippi State is you’ve got to be prepared for physicality. This is a team that loves to create steals. They average 10 steals a game. It’s a high-gamble team defensively. They jump in passing lanes. The pace of play, they try to control the pace of play. It’s a paint game. You’ve got to be able to defensively defend the paint, starting with Tolu Smith inside, who’s averaging 15 points a game on the year and 13 in conference play.
“Perimeter wise they have Dashawn Davis, No. 10, an Oregon State transfer who can make threes. A high-assist player. Then Shakeel Moore, an NC State transfer, lefty, who can shoot the ball and is playing really well of late. Then they have some really athletic wings with great size in Cam Cam Matthews, No. 4 and Tyler Stevenson, No. 14, and D.J. Jeffries, No. 0.
“Then two big guys inside in Tolu Smith, No. 1, and McNair, who played at New Mexico State last year and we played against him in the NCAA Tournament, No. 13. So boxing out, keeping them off the offensive glass, getting a shot on goal, not allowing their steal game or their defensive anticipation to get out and create transition baskets for them. Those will be some of the keys to Saturday’s game.”
• Arkansas and Mississippi State have met on 67 previous occasions. Arkansas holds a slight 35-32 advantage all-time as well as a slight 30-28 advantage since the Razorbacks joined the SEC.
• While the all-time series is tight, Arkansas holds a commanding 23-8 advantage over the Bulldogs in games played in Fayetteville, including 22-7 in SEC games.
Over the 5-game Arkansas SEC win streak:
• ARK: 72.5 ppg – 50% FG – 36% 3PT – 75 assists – 62 TO – 34 BLK – 39 steals
• OPP: 60.6 ppg – 38% FG – 31% 3PT – 53 assists – 76 TO – 17 BLK – 33 steals
• Davonte Davis: 16.2 ppg – 56% FG – 51% 3PT – 20 assists
• Anthony Black: 14.8 ppg – 43% FG – 23-32 FT – 5.0 rpg – 27 assists – 16 steals
• Ricky Council IV: 12.2 ppg – 18-23 FT – 18 assists – 11 TO
• Jordan Walsh: 9.2 ppg – 5.2 rpg (11 of the team’s 44 offensive boards)
• Makhel Mitchell: 8.3 ppg – 6.5 rpg – 15 BLK