Arkansas weathered a couple of big roundhouse hooks by Oral Roberts on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and a game-winning 3-pointer from the right side by sharpshooter Max Abmas bounced off the front rim at the buzzer.
The Razorbacks survived, to get Baylor tonight inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
Oral presented a difficult two-man gang, in Abmas-Kevin Obanor, for Arkansas to contain. This time, it will find points much more difficult to gather as Baylor has been playing the best defense of any team left in March Madness.
For March Madness betting purposes, it mixes into a beautiful, textbook Under play.
- Baylor -8 vs. Arkansas, Total 147.5, Monday, 9:57 pm ET
- Action: Under 147.5
Baylor has been bearing down on defense. Over their past three games, the Bears’ opponents’ effective-possession ratio of 0.832 is the stingiest in the game.
And all Arkansas has is the 10th-best adjusted defensive efficiency. That’s in the nation. Among teams left in the tourney, that’s No. 7.
Plus, eight of the past 10 Arkansas games have finished Under. Four of Baylor’s previous five games finished under 147.5 points.
Arkansas (25-6) has not played in Lucas Oil, where Baylor (25-2) opened its tourney with a 79-55 victory over Hartford. This time, it will be a brutal tug-of-war.
Baylor O Vs. Arkansas D
The treat of this game will feature Baylor’s offense, with a third-rated adjusted efficiency by stats guru Ken Pomeroy, against that tough Arkansas defense.
Baylor makes free throws at an ugly 69.9% clip, which will contribute to keeping points off the board. The aspect of the Bears’ offense that will concern Arkansas is 3-point shooting.
At 40.8% beyond the arc, Baylor is second in the nation.
Its main culprits are junior Jared Butler (39.9%), junior Davion Mitchell (45%), senior MaCio Teague (39.4%), and sophomore Adam Flagler (40.8%), a quartet of fleet-footed guards.
The Razorbacks’ 3-point defense, at 33.2%, is barely above average. If it is alert on the outside from the start tonight, it will keep the score low and be able to stay tight with the Bears, maybe even pull an upset.
The first two Arkansas foes combined for 22-of-47 from long range, but it confined Oral Roberts to connecting on only eight of 31 attempts from beyond the arc. That continued success if pivotal to our Under.
Arkansas junior guard JD Notae’s woes will also contribute to a low-scoring affair. Supposedly the Razorbacks’ go-to guy, Notae has only sunk seven of 29 shots in the tourney, for a total of 25 points.
That can’t be expected to improve against Baylor’s ever-improving defense.
The focus of the Bears’ defensive tactics should be stringy 6-foot-6 freshman swingman Moses Moody. In three of his past seven games, he has pelted someone for 28 points.
He has 41 in three games in the NCAAs, but against Oral he went a horrible 4-for-17 from 2-point range. It all adds up to a low-scoring game that could be difficult to watch.