University of Missouri

Missouri-Arkansas basketball preview

Updated: 2014-02-13T15:29:38Z

PNo.ArkansasHt.Yr.PPG
F4Coty Clarke6-7Sr.8.7
F10Bobby Portis6-10Fr.13.1
G00Rashad Madden6-5Jr.12.7
G12Fred Gulley III6-2Sr.4.7
G20Kikko Haydar5-10Sr.3.7

PNo.MissouriHt.Yr.PPG
F3Johnathan Williams III6-9Fr.6.2
F4Ryan Rosburg6-10So.5.0
G5Jordan Clarkson6-5Jr.18.9
G32Jabari Brown6-5Jr.20.1
G33Earnest Ross6-5Sr.14.1

• WHEN/ WHERE: 6 p.m. Thursday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia

• TV/RADI O: ESPN; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)

• ABOUT ARKANSAS (15-8, 4-6 SEC) : Prior to a 77-75 win Saturday at Vanderbilt, the Razorbacks had been 2-22 overall and 2-19 in the SEC on the road under former Missouri coach Mike Anderson. Both of the previous victories came at conference doormat Auburn. Arkansas hasn’t been a great rebounding team, which is evident in its minus-2.2 rebounding margin. Still, the Razorbacks must do better than getting whipped 42-26 as it did during a Jan. 28 loss at home against Missouri. On the plus side, Arkansas forced 19 turnovers and blocked six shots in that prior meeting.

• ABOUT MISSOURI (16-7, 4-6 SEC): The Tigers have lost three straight games for the first time under Frank Haith and slipped two games below .500 in conference play for the first time in six seasons. Haith blamed poor rebounding and a frontcourt that got out-hustled, particularly in the first half, for Missouri’s demise at Mississippi. Returning home for the first of three consecutive games at home might be elixir the Tigers need to turn things around. Senior Earnest Ross got himself untracked at Mississippi after struggling against Kentucky (eight points) and at Florida (three points), a trend that needs to continue.

• BOTTOM LINE: Missouri gutted out a win Jan. 28 at Arkansas behind 24 points apiece from Ross and junior Jabari Brown. Junior Jordan Clarkson only scored 11 in the victory, but he dished six assists in more of a facilitator role with Arkansas’ defense clamping down hard every time he drove toward the basket. The Tigers need to find ways to free up Clarkson or use the Razorbacks’ aggressive against them even more than in the first meeting. Freshman Johnathan Williams III and sophomore Ryan Rosburg, who combined for 21 rebounds in that game, must be productive again.

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

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