Previewing Arkansas

No. 4 seed North Carolina must get past No. 5 seed Arkansas on Saturday to reach its first Sweet 16 since 2012. Tip-off at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena is set for approximately 8:40pm and will be televised by TNT.

North Carolina (25-11) vs. Arkansas (27-8)
Jacksonville, Fla. - Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
Saturday, approx. 8:40pm
TNT (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas)


"One of the things we do thrive on is trying to apply pressure to teams. We cannot sit and play a half court game with a North Carolina team. We've got to hopefully cause some chaos with our defense. And hopefully we can get some turnovers. But more importantly, I think we've got to defend and we've got to rebound the basketball. I think that's going to be big. Our guards have got to get in there and rebound the basketball." - Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson

"I feel like playing UNC will benefit us better because Wofford has four or five guards in at a time. I think that kind of hurt us a lot just because they had four or five ball handlers in. I think playing UNC will benefit us." - Arkansas center Bobby Portis

"Just try to play the way we play. Try to get the ball out of Marcus Paige's hands because he can do some real damage. He's a dynamite player. We want to speed them up, let Bob get some more isolation, and they won't have the net share defense that Wofford had." - Arkansas wing Michael Qualls


Season to Date: Arkansas enters Saturday’s contest with a 27-8 (13-5 SEC) record. The Razorbacks finished the season ranked No. 21 in the AP poll. Head coach Mike Anderson’s team played just three ranked teams this season -- at No.11 Iowa State and a home-and-home against No. 1 Kentucky – and were outscored by a combined 257-197 points in the three losses. Even so, Arkansas finished with the second-best record in the SEC.

NCAA Tournament Results: Arkansas, like many other higher seeds, barely survived a major upset on the first day of tournament play. In the round of 64, 12th-seeded Wofford pushed the Razorbacks to the brink before falling 56-53. The game featured 10 ties and 18 lead changes as the Terriers missed a pair of 3-pointers in the closing seconds that would have sent the game to overtime. Arkansas guard Michael Qualls led the way with 20 points, while SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Razorbacks on the Run: Much like North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Anderson loves for his team to push the tempo. This season, the Razorbacks have averaged 15.7 seconds per possession (8th nationally). That number is nearly three seconds below the NCAA average, and 0.4 seconds faster than North Carolina’s average of 16.4 seconds per possession, according to

Force in the Middle:While Qualls is Arkansas’s primary perimeter threat, SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis sets the tone on both ends of the floor with his athleticism and size in the post. The 6-foot-11, 242-pound sophomore, a former 5-star recruit out of Hall High School in Little Rock, averaged 17.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season and has tallied 13 double-doubles. He ranks second in the SEC with a 54.3 shooting percentage.

Sharing the Ball: With a fast-paced offense, Arkansas has been very effective moving the ball around. As a team, Arkansas has 300 assists as a team on the season (most in the SEC) and ranked third in the SEC with 14.3 assists per game. The Razorbacks have assisted on 58.9 percent of their made field goals (55th nationally), according to Much of that success is due to the play of point guard Rashad Madden. The senior point guard leads the Razorbacks with 4.5 assists per game.

Last Meeting: The top-seeded Tar Heels routed the Razorbacks, 108-77, in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32 in Raleigh on March 23, 2008. UNC jumped out to a 35-11 lead and shot 67.7 percent from the floor. Wayne Ellington led the Tar Heels with 20 points, while Ty Lawson (19), Tyler Hansbrough (17), Deon Thompson (16) and Alex Stepheson (10) also scored in double figures.

Series History: UNC leads the overall series with Arkansas, 4-3. The programs have split their four previous NCAA Tournament matchups.

Projected Starters:
31 Anton Beard (6-0, 195, Fr.) - 5.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg
00 Rashad Madden (6-5, 182, Sr.) - 9.5 ppg, 4.5 apg
24 Michael Qualls (6-6, 205, Jr.) - 15.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg
2 Alandise Harris (6-6, 230, Sr.) - 7.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg
10 Bobby Portis (6-11, 242, So.) - 17.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg

Top Reserves:
05 Anthlon Bell (6-3, 185, Jr.) - 7.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg
22 Jacorey Williams (6-8, 215, Jr.) - 4.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg
21 Manuale Watkins (6-3, 205, So.) - 2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg

Arkansas Info
Roster & Bios

(Photo from USA Today Sports)

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