In the past few weeks, we have learned what the Oklahoma Sooners have been made of as come from behind close wins have become somewhat of a trend for this young team. Oklahoma will once again appear to have their hands full as they travel on the road to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Coach Mike Anderson took over this Razorback program last season and found himself in a similar position to that of Coach lon Kruger. One thing that these two coaches have in common is that they both employ an up-tempo style of basketball. This matchup could put both teams through the gauntlet as the pace will remain fast throughout the entirety of the game. While Kruger preaches defense, it is Arkansas that will be looking to rely on an intense pressure style made famous by former head coach, Nolan Richardson.
The second thing these coaches have in common is that they are working toward putting their squads into the post-season. While NCAA bids are always the goal, it might be a bit more realistic to see one if not both of these programs in the NIT.
Leading this Razorback team in scoring is sophomore B.J. Young. This is a kid who was highly touted coming out of high school as a point guard and led Arkansas in scoring as a freshman as a scorer off the bench. This season, Young is getting the starting spot and is currently averaging 21.4 points per game along with 2.8 assists. With his agility and knack for scoring, it could be a long day in the backcourt for players like Isaiah Cousins or Sam Grooms.
To balance the floor out, Arkansas has another great scoring option in Marshawn Powell, a junior forward. Powell currently averages 13.3 points per game. Not only is he contributing to the numbers on the scoreboard, he is also pulling down 5.5 rebounds per game. Powell and Romero Osby could be the key matchup in the game for all to watch.
Off the bench, it is Coty Clarke, a combo forward, that Sooner fans need to be aware of. Clarke got off to a very hot start but hit a stumbling block against Arizona St. However, he has bounced back and shown that he is fundamentally sound at rebounding as he leads the Razorbacks with 6.8 boards a game. While Clarke is not a starter, he could see starters' minutes against Oklahoma.
All-in-all, Arkansas is a much better team than their 3-3 record shows at this point in the season. The Sooners will need to be prepared as the physical fitness, or lack there of, of each player will be on full display. Who will shine and who will falter as the occasion rises? Find out as the Sooners take on the Razorbacks at 6 PM (CST)!