Troy Trojans (5-5 SU, 4-4 ATS, 4-4 O/U) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS, 5-3 O/U)
NCAAB: Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. EST
The Arkansas Razorbacks are off to a 7-2 start and have won two games in a row heading into a home date with the Troy Trojans at Verizon Arena on Saturday night. Arkansas most recently defeated Colorado State and Minnesota this past weekend. The Trojans had won three straight contests before losing to UAB and Southern Miss in succession.
Person of interest
Troy gave Kentucky all it could handle last month but enters this one having dropped two in a row. The Trojans boast a pair of dynamic scorers in Wesley Person (20.3 points per game) and Jordon Varnado (19.0 points per game), but Varnado continues to be sidelined with a foot injury. That puts more pressure on Person, who has reached the 20-point plateau in five straight outings and made multiple three-pointers in every game this season. The 6’3” senior is shooting 46.4 percent from behind the arc, while Javan Johnson is 11-of-19 from three-point range and is shooting 54.8 percent overall.
In the game against Kentucky on Nov. 20, Troy outscored the Wildcats 37-29 in the second half before succumbing 70-62. The Trojans fought back to get within eight points despite trailing by as many as 21 with less than nine minutes remaining. Varnado had 15 points in that outing, while Person led Troy with 17 against the Wildcats.
After posting its biggest win of the 2017-18 campaign last weekend, Arkansas hopes the momentum will carry into Saturday. The Razorbacks topped a nationally-ranked Minnesota team 95-79 and enter Thursday’s action tied for 16th in the nation in points per game (88.1). They shot 57.4 percent at the Golden Gophers’ and finished with more three-pointers (10) than turnovers (nine) in an impressive performance against a foe that many consider to be a Final Four contender. Jaylen Barford delivered 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting and C.J. Jones went 5-of-7 from long distance to fuel the offensive assault by Arkansas, which has also posted wins over Oklahoma and Connecticut this season. The Razorbacks have scored at least 83 points seven times–and have won all seven of those games. Freshman forward Daniel Gafford went 8-for-8 from the floor against Minnesota, increasing his season shooting percentage to 69.5 percent. That earned him the praise of head coach Richard Pitino.
“If he works hard and he’s a good kid, he could be a first-round pick,” Pitino said.
The Troy Trojans are:
- 4-1 Over in their last five games against the SEC
- 9-3 Over in their last 12 games following a loss
The Arkansas Razorbacks are:
- 5-2 Over in their last seven overall
- 5-2 Over in their last seven non-conference games
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 overall
Arkansas’ Barford, Jones, and Daryl Macon all have a team-high 20 three-pointers on the season. As a team, the Hogs are shooting better than 40 percent from the land of plenty. The Razorbacks’ three starting guards combined for 18 assists compared to only four turnovers against Minnesota. The over is 4-1 in the Trojans’ last five against the SEC and 9-3 in their last 12 following a loss. It is also 5-2 in the Razorbacks’ last seven overall and 5-2 in their last seven non-conference contests. Look for this one to go over the total.