IHTIT: Tennessee Vols vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball Preview (2/14/24)

It's Hoops Time in Tennessee: Tennessee (17-6, 7-3 SEC, 9-6 vs. Q1&2) returns home after a surprising loss at Texas A&M. Going into the game, the Aggies were shooting around 26% from three, so the Vols' game plan to make A&M shoot from deep would've been a sound one had the Aggies not started 8/12 from behind the line. 

Arkansas (12-11, 3-7, 3-10) has had an... interesting season. And whether or not the rumors are true, there is certainly something off about this Arkansas team. The Hogs haven't lived up to their preseason prediction as the #3 team in the SEC. But after a 1-6 start to SEC play, Arkansas has won two of their last three conference games. Maybe the Hogs are getting turned around? (No, not like that.)

Preview Graphic: See the basketball glossary for more information. Click for larger version. 

Heart-Shaped Bullets:
  • Travon Brazile and Devonte Davis would've been on the preview graphic with Tramon Mark FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON, but Brazile has an undisclosed injury and Davis stepped away from the program a couple of weeks ago. 
  • I don't really want to focus on THE RUMORS but I'm pretty sure I would've ended up writing this preview like a middle schooler if all three were on the chart together. 
  • It is Valentine's Day after all. 
  • There's very little information about Brazile's injury. I made the mistake of assuming Myles Stute wouldn't lay for South Carolina, but he went 3/3 from 3 against the Vols, so if Brazile made a return tonight I wouldn't be shocked. 
  • Arkansas hasn't done much well all season. They don't shoot well, particularly from 3... this is starting to sound like the A&M preview isn't it? 
  • However, A&M had the strength of rebounding well all season--Arkansas really doesn't have a stat that you can point to as their identity. 
  • They do get to the free throw line a lot. And they block shots? (3rd nationally)
This is absolutely a game Tennessee should win. Whether THE RUMORS are true or not, Arkansas has clearly been a dysfunctional, undercheiveing team this year. 


They seem to be getting better, winning two of their last three. They've arguably improved since losing Devo Davis and Brazile. There's also the fact that top 10 teams are barely over .500 against unranked opponents on the road. And while Tennessee does have a slim 25-22 lead in the all-time series, the Vols only have three wins ever in Bud Walton Arena, and none since the 2008-09 season. 

Prediction: Despite those facts, there's no reason to think the Vols won't win. KenPom has the Vols as 11-point favorites. Vegas has UT -8.5. Somewhere in between seems right. Tennessee 82, Arkansas 73
Mediocre Betting Advice: Stay away from top 10 teams on the road. But that's no fun. Tennessee -8.5 and Over 150.5
Prediction Records YTD: 6-3 SU, 5-4 ATS, 3-4-1 O/U



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