Arkansas and UNC: a Preview and Prediction

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The two teams are pretty evenly matched in most categories, except strength of schedule. UNC was 7-10 against ranked teams during the regular season.  By contrast, Arkansas played only 2 teams that made the round of 32:  Dayton and Kentucky, beating the Flyers and falling twice to the Wildcats.  With common opponents, Arkansas is 1-4 beating Wake Forest and losing to Florida, Clemson and Kentucky twice.  UNC is 3-1 beating Clemson, Florida and Wake Forest and losing to Kentucky by 14 points.

And while Kentucky is arguably the more battle tested team, Arkansas may have an edge with its press.  UNC is more of a  turnover prone team and may be bothered by constant pressure.  However, it should be noted that Arkansas’ press had zero impact on Wofford in their second round meeting; the Terriers only turned the ball over 7 times.  In fact, Arkansas turned the ball over more than Wofford; It turns out that turnovers in basketball are less of a factor than turnovers in football.  In half of the 32 games in the second round, the loser committed fewer turnovers than the victor.  Case in point:  Coastal Carolina only committed 6 turnovers and still lost to Wisconsin by 14 points.

The Razorbacks and the Tar Heels have a history in the tournament dating back to 1990, each with 2 wins and 2 losses.  Arkansas will be looking to take revenge for being blownout the last time they met Carolina at the Big Dance in 2008. Simply put, the Hogs are hungry.

In the 2015 edition of the tournament, with all the passing, fouling, poor shooting and strong defense we’ve seen so far from most of the teams, look for a low scoring and very close game.  And look for Arkansas to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996:  AR 66 – UNC 63.

Let the madness continue! #Marchmadness #WPS

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