Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#7989 Alabama vs.
#7990 Arkansas
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

The two teams at the top of the SEC standings will square off on Wednesday night when No. 20 Arkansas hosts No. 6 Alabama. The Crimson Tide have only dropped one SEC game all season and are coming off a narrow win over Vanderbilt. Arkansas has won its last seven conference games since dropping a 90-59 final at Alabama.

Crimson Tide eyeing season sweep

No. 6 Alabama has only lost one SEC game all season—a 68-65 setback at No. 18 Missouri on Feb. 6. The Crimson Tide have responded with three consecutive wins, beating South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt. They trailed for most of the game in Columbia, but they were able to pull out the win at the end. Their win over Georgia came in blowout fashion, but Vanderbilt put up an unexpected fight on Saturday. Alabama’s offense has dipped slightly of late, but it is still No. 24 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings. It shoots the sixteenth-most 3-pointers of any team in college basketball.

The Crimson Tide will be facing an Arkansas defense that is No. 20 in adjusted efficiency ratings. Sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford leads Alabama with 14.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He poured in 27 points in the win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Senior guard John Petty Jr. is one of the best players in Crimson Tide history. He is averaging 13.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Petty Jr. struggled on Saturday, scoring just six points on 25.0 percent shooting. Sophomore guard Jahvon Quinerly is adding 11.7 points. He has scored in double figures in his last five games since getting shut out against Oklahoma at the end of January.

Razorbacks hoping to stay hot

No. 20 Arkansas did not appear to be a threat in the SEC at the beginning of the season, going 2-4 in its first six conference games. That losing stretch ended with a 90-59 blowout loss in Tuscaloosa, so this will be a revenge spot for the Razorbacks. They have won all seven of their SEC games since then, including victories over Kentucky, No. 10 Missouri and Florida in their last three games. They were supposed to travel to Texas A&M on Saturday, but the game was postponed. Arkansas has been a solid offensive team, listed at No. 37 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings.

The Razorbacks will be facing an Alabama defense that has been much better than expected, listed at No. 2 in the country in efficiency. Freshman guard Moses Moody is leading Arkansas with 16.2 points and 5.6 rebounds. He poured in 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the loss to Alabama earlier this season. Junior guard JD Notae is scoring 12.5 points, but he is only shooting 37.5 percent from the floor. Senior forward Justin Smith is also in double figures, averaging 11.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. Senior guard Jalen Tate is adding 11.1 points and 4.3 assists.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Arkansas has been on a roll since losing to Alabama in mid-January, but the Razorbacks’ winning streak is going to come to an end on Wednesday night. The Crimson Tide have established themselves as the best team in the SEC and they have a chance to re-iterate that point in this matchup. Their defense has been getting better throughout the season and their offense is capable of going off in any game. Arkansas does not have the firepower to keep up with Alabama, as evidenced by the first matchup.

Prediction: Alabama

Full-Game Total Pick

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Alabama’s games have been heavily correlated to the over this season. The Crimson Tide love to shoot the ball from the outside as much as any team in college basketball, which always helps games get over the number. They also play at the second-fastest pace in the country. Arkansas shoots the ball well enough to make this a high-scoring game. Alabama has gone over in eight of its last 12 conference games, while the Razorbacks have gone over in 10 of their last 13 games played in the month of February.

Prediction: Over

Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.