Fresno State Bulldogs (2-0 SU, 0-1 ATS, 0-1 O/U) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 0-1 O/U)
NCAAB: Friday, November 17, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Arkansas Razorbacks -12.5. Total: 152
Both the Arkansas Razorbacks and Fresno State Bulldogs have started the season 2-0 as they head into a showdown at Arkansas’ Bud Walton Arena on Friday night. The Razorbacks are coming off consecutive victories over Samford and Bucknell. Fresno State opened with a defeat of UC Santa Cruz before beating Cal State Northridge on Monday.
The Bulldogs opened with a pair of double-digit home wins and now are making a quick trip to Fayetteville before heading further south for next week’s Cancun Challenge. Fresno State has eclipsed 20 wins in three of the last four seasons and is off to a strong again with victories over UC Santa Cruz (96-65) and Cal State Northridge (89-73).
Guards Deshon (17.0 points per game) and Jahmel Taylor (15.5 ppg) are the team’s leading scorers and also are averaging a combined 7.5 assists, seven three-pointers, and three steals per outing. Jaron Hopkins, a 6’6” swingman, is averaging 15 ppg, a team-most 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Sophomore Bryson Williams has stepped in to fill some front-court voids so far while averaging 15 points and six rebounds per contest.
Early returns are encouraging
Senior-laden Arkansas is off to one of the most impressive starts in the program’s recent history and it will try to keep things rolling when it wraps up a season-opening three-game home-stand on Friday. In overwhelming Samford 95-56 and Bucknell 101-73, the Razorbacks have opened a season with consecutive wins of at least 28 points for the first time in 70 years. They have also topped 95 points in their first two games for the first time in 21 years, and they’ve done it with on-target shooting (55.2 percent) and a disruptive defense that has forced 37 turnovers.
“It’s early on; I caution that,” head coach Mike Anderson said following Sunday’s rout of Bucknell. “When you make shots–and we’ve been making some shots–it energizes your defense. What happens when you don’t make those shots? That’s what I want to see.”
Senior backcourt mates Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon have picked up where they left off in 2016-17, averaging a combined 40 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, and three steals per game while connecting on 11-of-21 three-point attempts. Fellow starters Anton Beard (12.5 ppg) and Adrio Bailey (11.0 ppg) are also averaging double-figures, while forward Trey Thompson is the team’s top rebounder at 9.5 per outing. Despite fouling out in both contests so far, 6’11” freshman Daniel Gafford has been Arkansas’ most impressive newcomer (12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg off the bench).
The Fresno State Bulldogs are:
- 8-2 Under in their last 10 overall
- 4-1 Under in their last five road games
- 4-1 Under in their last five non-conference games
The Arkansas Razorbacks are:
- 5-1 Under in their last six overall
- 6-0 Under in their last six games following a win
- 5-1 Under in their last six games against teams with winning percentages over .600
Fresno State is shooting just 53.8 percent from the free-throw line. Arkansas had been dishing the rock impressively prior to facing Bucknell, but the team assisted on only 12 of its baskets in that contest. The under is 8-2 in the Bulldogs’ last 10 overall, 4-1 in their last five on the road, and 4-1 in their last five non-conference contests. It is also 5-1 in the Razorbacks’ last six overall, 5-1 in their last six against opponents with winning percentages over .600, and 6-0 in their last six following a win. Look for this one to stay under the total.