The Razorbacks, who have lost eight of their last nine games will be without freshman point guard Courtney Fortson. They just found out senior Marcus Monk is officially done for the season, and coach John Pelphrey has only eight scholarship players today.
But Arkansas has to find a way to exude confidence against Kentucky, which has beaten the Hogs eight straight times. A near-sellout crowd in Bud Walton Arena could help, so a quick start is a must.
2. Avoid Foul Trouble
Arkansas darted out to an eight-point halftime lead Wednesday night before losing 75-62 at Auburn. But the Razorbacks' advantage could've possibly been larger if they had avoided foul trouble.
Junior forward Michael Washington played only two first-half minutes after picking up two early fouls, and Fortson sat substantial time throughout the game with foul trouble.
With such a short bench today, Pelphrey can't afford to watch any of his players rack up too many fouls.
3. New Point Guard
With Fortson out, junior guard Stefan Welsh will take over at point guard for the Razorbacks. It's not as if he lacks experience at the position.
Welsh started 21 games last season as Arkansas' point guard, earning starts over Gary Ervin, and has played point guard this season when Fortson sits on the bench.
He ranks second on the team in assists with 2.2 per game.
4. Inside Strength
The task of outmuscling Kentucky inside would get a lot easier if the 6-9 sophomore forward Patrick Patterson didn't suit up for the Wildcats. He is nursing a sprained right ankle he suffered Tuesday night against Florida.
Regardless of whether Patterson plays, the Razorbacks must increase their inside production to beat the Wildcats. Arkansas has been outrebounded in eight of its last 11 contests and allowed Auburn to grab 15 offensive rebounds Wednesday night.
5. Patient Offense
Pelphrey left Auburn annoyed about the Razorbacks' second-half offensive performance. In the first half, they took advantage of fast break opportunities and patiently worked the ball around in their half-court offense.
But in the second half, Arkansas settled far too often for shots early in the shot clock. That approach resulted in the Hogs shooting 8 of 30 from the floor after halftime.
Making patience all the more important today: Kentucky ranks first in the SEC in field goal percentage defense (37.5 percent).
Arkansas Razorbacks (13-9, 1-8)
• Coach: John Pelphrey (Second season)
• Last Time Out: Arkansas lost to Auburn 75-62 on Feb. 11 in Auburn, Ala.
• Key Injuries, Suspensions: Freshman G Courtney Fortson, suspended, out; Junior G Stefan Welsh, toe, probable
Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG APG
G Stefan Welsh 6-3 Junior12.6 3.4 2.2
G Rotnei Clarke 6-0 Freshman 11.0 1.9 1.0
G Marcus Britt 6-3 Sophomore 3.5 1.7 0.9
F Michael Sanchez 6-8 Freshman 6.1 5.0 0.7
F Michael Washington 6-9 Junior 16.5 9.7 1.3*
G Jason Henry 6-6 Freshman 7.2 4.1 0.4
F Andre Clark 6-9 Freshman 2.5 1.9 0.1
F Brandon Moore 6-9 Freshman 2.1 1.7 0.4
Kentucky (17-7, 6-3)
• Coach: Billy Gillispie (Second season)
• Last Time Out: Kentucky beat Florida 68-65 on Feb. 10 in Lexington, Ky.
• Key Injuries: Sophomore F Patrick Patterson, right ankle, questionable
Name Ht. Cl. PPG RPG APG
G Michael Porter 6-3 Junior 3.7 2.0 2.8
G Jodie Meeks 6-4 Junior 25.0 3.5 1.6
F Ramon Harris 6-7 Junior 5.0 3.0 1.0
F Perry Stevenson 6-9 Junior 8.0 6.7 1.7
F Patrick Patterson 6-9 Sophomore 17.8 9.1 2.0
G DeAndre Liggins 6-6 Freshman 5.8 2.8 3.0
F Josh Harrellson 6-10 Sophomore 5.0 3.2 0.4
F Kevin Galloway 6-7 Junior 1.5 1.6 1.3
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