Syracuse will play Arkansas in the Big East/SEC challenge at Bud Walton Arena on Friday. Here is a scouting report for the game:
NON-CONFERENCE TEST: The Arkansas Razorbacks are considered a fringe NCAA team under second year coach Mike Anderson. Certainly, the Razorbacks have been tested early in the season, with a pair of close losses in the Las Vegas Invitational to BCS teams. Though Arkansas lost against Arizona State and Wisconsin, the Razorbacks actually held an 11-point halftime lead against the Badgers. It doesn’t get any easier, Arkansas gets ready to host Syracuse on Friday. The Orange come in at No. 6, and after SU, the Razorbacks will host Oklahoma before heading to Ann Arbor to play No. 4 Michigan. A few wins in this tough stretch would bolster Arkansas’ resume come tournament time.
SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS: The Razorbacks are sorely undersized, and are just 124th in the NCAA in rebounding. In the two games in Las Vegas, the Razorbacks were outrebounded by a +15 margin. They have made up for the deficiency by playing at a frenetic pace on defense. That has helped to mask its defensive problems in the halfcourt set. Wisconsin was able to erase its halftime deficit after it dictated tempo and slowed the game down. Still, sophomore guard BJ Young leads a youthful and uptempo offense, which currently averages 82.4 points a game. Young is the centerpiece of that attack, with 20.5 points per game, though he is shooting just 15 percent from downtown.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: This is just the second time the two teams are meeting, though the first game—March 19, 1995 in the NCAA tournament—has continued to haunt Orange fans to this day. Lawrence Moten called a timeout when Syracuse didn’t have any remaining as the Razorbacks went on to win 96-94 in overtime. Scotty Thurman scored 27 points and Corliss Williamson added 25 for Arkansas John Wallace led SU with 29 points.
GAME INFORMATION: Friday, Nov. 30, 8:30 p.m. at Arkansas. TV: ESPN.Wesley Cheng