USA Today/Christopher Hanewinckel

Three-Point Arc: What To Watch in Kentucky-Arkansas Matchup

In this AllWildcats "Three-Point Arc" feature, we take a glance at what to expect in Thursday's Kentucky-Arkansas matchup at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

1. ANOTHER ROAD TEST

Much has been made about Kentucky's struggles on the road, losing two of its first three away from Rupp Arena in league play. Arkansas may bring a modest 9-8 record into this matchup, but like many SEC clubs, the Razorbacks are a different animal in the confines of Bud Walton Arena. Under coach Mike Anderson, Arkansas has posted a 75-9 mark at BWA. To put that in perspective, John Calipari is 79-4 during the same span at Rupp. Not too shabby. The Razorbacks are the only team in the SEC with consecutive home wins against UK, having beaten the Cats three straight times in 2011, 2013 and 2014. It's the only SEC arena in which Calipari has not won a game with the Cats.

2. BIG KEY, DEFEND THE 3

Arkansas ranks third nationally in 3-point field goal percentage, knocking down treys at a .447 clip. Only No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 3 Kansas are better from beyond the arc. For UK, it's a similar matchup to the last one Saturday at Auburn. The Cats failed that test, allowing Bruce Pearl's squad to record a dozen 3s en route to a stunning upset. Calipari has always built his defenses around staunch denial of clean 3-point looks, but it has occasionally been a struggle with this year's young bunch. In their four losses, the Cats have allowed UCLA, Ohio State, LSU and Auburn to shoot 46 percent from beyond the arc. In wins, that figure is 33 percent.

3. UP-TEMPO AFFAIR?

Most opponents like to grind games into a plodding mess against Kentucky, but Arkansas has never followed the trend. Anderson's team leads the SEC in scoring at 83.8 points per game, but it's also 12th in scoring defense at 75.9 points per game. By field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage, the Hogs are 13th and 14th, respectively, in the league. It's not exactly the "40 Minutes of Hell" from yesteryear. Nevertheless, this one could be fun. The Razorbacks are expected to run-and-gun with the Cats, which could mean a lot of transition scoring opportunities for the three-man backcourt of Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe. Will UK's defense be up to the task of slowing down the only Power 5 conference program with three players (Anthlon Bell 17.1, Moses Kingsley 16.9, Dusty Hannahs 16.0) averaging 15 or more points per game? 


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