For the first time in awhile, I am going to be doing an Arkansas sports news post. So here we go.
First, Arkansas swept the 2021 State Farm College Baseball showdown with wins over Texas Tech, Texas, and TCU. The Razorbacks beat the Red Raiders 13-9 on Saturday, the Longhorns 4-0 Sunday, and the Horned Frogs 4-1 on Monday. They will return home to Baum-Walker Stadium for a four game series beginning Thursday and end on Sunday.
After Texas A&M postponed one of the two Arkansas games for the second time this season due to COVID-19 protocols, Arkansas was reportedly in contact with Arkansas State about a game between the two schools this previous Saturday. Arkansas State had two games, set for Friday February 19 and Saturday February 20 against Texas State, which were postponed due to inclement weather at both schools. It led to the opening the Red Wolves had on Saturday for a game. Arkansas State then scheduled the make up game versus Texas State on Monday. Arkansas State head coach Mike Balado said last week that “It’s not very smart for our team when we’re in the hunt of playing for a No. 1 seed,”. “I’m not quite sure if they’re (Arkansas) in the hunt for the No. 1 seed. I don’t really pay attention to their record, but we’re in the hunt, so we have to worry about our players and our health and safety about the conference season, so it’s about us, not about them.” Arkansas also tried to get another non conference game when Tulsa had to postpone. They contacted Arkansas State then, as well. When asked about Arkansas State’s decline to play Arkansas back in December Balado said, “When you play games, they have to benefit both teams,” Balado said. “We’re not going to get bullied into playing a game just because it benefits one team. We don’t do that. We’re not nobody’s little brother. We’re going to play basketball when it’s a benefit to us and the other team.” Looking to the future, Balado said he has reached out to Arkansas about scheduling a non-conference game on Nov. 13 next season. Both teams have the date open, so it is likely the two will meet next season.
6.Alabama at. 20.Arkansas
Bud Walton Arena (Fayetteville,AR)
Wednesday February 24, 9 PM ET
On Saturday January 16, Arkansas lost to Alabama 90-59 at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The school known for dominating football had put an exclamation point on their then 13-2 and an unbeaten record in conference play. Arkansas fell to 12-4, their fourth loss in conference play.
Things seem a little different now. For Arkansas especially, who have won its last seven SEC games and in most mock brackets are being seeded as a six or seven seed. Alabama is still en route to their first SEC regular season title in awhile, being seen mostly as a two or three seed.
Alabama is led by senior wing John Petty Jr., who is putting up 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. Joining him on the perimeter in Tuscaloosa, is talented Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly. The Hackensack, New Jersey native averages almost 12 points and 3 assists per game. But it is sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford (14.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists per game) that leads the Tide in scoring. On the other side is a group of talented newcomers. Most notably freshman Moses Moody and Indiana grad transfer Justin Smith stand out. Wing Moses Moody is averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds and is a favorite for the SEC freshman of the year. On the interior for the hogs is Justin Smith, who is averaging almost 12 points and six and a half rebounds a game. The problems for Arkansas have come when they have been without Smith, where they lost games that they could’ve won with him such as a close loss to big man heavy Tennessee back in January.
This coaching match up is elite. Recently, due to the success of the program, second year Alabama head coach Nate Oats got a new extension last Thursday. According to HawgBeat.com, fellow second year head coach Eric Musselman should be next in line for an extension. Both coaches have teams who are hot and in great positions to play in March. The coach that has his team better conditioned will win this game. Basketball is a game of runs and whichever team is more conditioned to make that run will win this game.
Projected Score: Alabama 72, Arkansas 67