Arkansas basketball vs UConn: Scouting report, score prediction in NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Arkansas basketball is in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 after upsetting 1-seed Kansas and will play UConn on Thursday.
The game tips off at 6:15 p.m. CT at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner will advance to play the winner of the game between Gonzaga and UCLA for a trip to the Final Four.
The 8-seed Razorbacks (22-13) are looking for their third straight Elite Eight appearance under Eric Musselman. Arkansas is led by Ricky Council IV with 16.1 points and Nick Smith Jr. with 12.6 points per game.
The 4-seed Huskies (27-8) are looking for their first Elite Eight appearance since winning the National Championship in 2014 and the first under Dan Hurley. UConn is led by Adama Sanogo with 17.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
UPSET OVER KANSAS:Arkansas basketball stuns top-seeded Kansas to advance to Sweet 16
SHIRTLESS COACH:Arkansas basketball fans react as coach Eric Musselman goes shirtless to celebrate Kansas upset
Scouting the Razorbacks
The Razorbacks are battle-tested, having played four teams that also advanced to the Sweet 16, not including an preseason exhibition versus Texas. Arkansas went 1-4 in the regular-season games, allowing an average of 81.8 points while scoring 74.8 points per game. The 81.8 points per game is well above the Arkansas defense's season average of 67.4, and the Razorbacks have returned to the mean by allowing an average of 67 points in postseason play.
While the Razorbacks are led by Council and Smith, Davonte Davis has taken over in the NCAA Tournament. He started with 16 points, six rebounds and four steals in the Round 1 win. Davis followed with 25 points and eight rebounds in the upset of Kansas. With Arkansas trailing by 11 points in the second half, he scored 14 of the Razorbacks' 18 points, including 10 straight.
Council leads the team in free throws by a considerable margin and makes them at a 78.9 rate, the best among players to shoot more than 10. He has attempted 23 free throws in two NCAA Tournament games, making 21.
Scouting the Huskies
The Huskies are just as battle-tested against Sweet 16 teams, playing three, including common opponents Alabama and Crieghton (twice). UConn holds a 2-3 record with wins over Alabama and Creighton. The Huskies' offense has struggled in those games, averaging 71.2 points. They normally average 78.5 per game.
In each game, the offense shot below the season average of 46.3% from the field. In March, UConn is shooting just below 50% from the field and averaging 76 points a game. They have connected on over 40% from 3-point range in four of the games, the low in March came in the Big East Tournament loss.
Sanogo, a first-team All-Big East selection, has averaged 26 points and 10.5 rebounds and a block per NCAA Tournament game, with only two fouls against St. Mary's.
Arkansas 78, UConn 65: The Razorbacks under Eric Musselman have tended to roll in March, and this year looks to be no different. Arkansas has been able to show its scoring depth while getting back to its defensive identity, and Thursday will be no different.
This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Arkansas basketball vs UConn: Scouting report, score prediction