No. 13 Arkansas looks to continue its ascent up the national polls and the Southeastern Conference when they host LSU on Wednesday, trying to make it five consecutive wins.
Sportsbooks sending out college basketball odds are keeping a watchful on Arkansas, who has moved into a second-place tie in the SEC as 12-4, with an equally impressive 11-4-1 ATS mark. The betting action on the Razorbacks has really picked up for a team that started conference play 0-3 SU and ATS and is 12-1 (11-1-1 ATS) since, with their only setback at Alabama by a single point.
LSU captured everyone’s attention early along with Kentucky and Auburn, with a 15-1 (13-3 ATS) opening salvo. For many reasons which we will get into, the Tigers are 5-8 SU since falling to Arkansas on Jan. 15, being exposed for various weaknesses.
LSU Tigers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Wednesday, March 02, 2022 – 09:00 PM EST at Bud Walton Arena
BetMGM has the Hogs as a 5.5-point home favorite with a total of 140.5 according to their betting odds. Will coach Eric Musselman’s club stay sizzling?
LSU’s Defense Will Take the Tigers as Far as They Can Go
Coach Will Wade’s team began the year playing tenacious defense and they overwhelmed who they played with their sheer will and scored with ease by generating turnovers. What opposing teams learned in the SEC is that if you do even an average job in not turning the ball over and guard LSU (20-9, 18-11 ATS) well enough to where they have to consistently make shots outside the paint, they can be beaten.
That is what changed for the Tigers because despite their athleticism, which is common in this conference, shooting 43% against this quality of competition and 40.6% on the road won’t be good enough, and that is why LSU is 8-8 in the SEC.
Losing point guard Xavier Pinson for six games through off the offensive flow. However, he’s a facilitator, not a shooter, as he’s below 40% for his career. Opponents are letting him hoist shots while attempting to take away passing lanes from him.
These Tigers feed off the defense and that’s how they will try and slow Arkansas.
Arkansas Maximizing Abilities
If you have watched Arkansas (23-6, 17-10-2 ATS) since its three-game losing streak in the SEC starting in late December, you have to be amazed how coach Musselman got this group together. It’s obvious, especially now, the talent was there and the coaching and Razorbacks players had to figure it out and find a way to connect as a group. They did.
Now, most games guard JD Notae is unstoppable and relentless. Stanley Umude or Jaylin Williams may miss shots early, instead of letting that affect them or the team, they go and play outstanding defense, rebound, or do whatever they can to help the Hogs, and they typically are clutch in making shots late in contests when needed.
Musselman has created a culture of players wanting to win for each other and nobody wanting to let a teammate down. Their willingness to outwork and outhustle their opponent is evident with the eye test and at this juncture, the Razorbacks are going to have to be beaten, because they won’t beat themselves.
What Is the Best Side to Be On?
For college basketball picks, this won’t be a pushover for Arkansas, as LSU has regained much of their confidence after losing six of seven and is playing better at 4-2 SU and ATS.
The swing elements appear to be turnovers and rebounding. LSU commits 15 per contest while forcing 18. The Razorbacks turn the rock over 12 times on average and generate 14 miscues.
Arkansas had 19 turnovers at LSU and has not come close to that number since and is at home. LSU gave up the ball 16 times, basically their average, but was out-rebounded by 10. If Arkansas wins the glass again with lower turnovers, they should win in the final minutes and cover the spread.
NCAAB Pick: Arkansas -5.5 (-112) at BetMGM