Arkansas Will Cruise Past Vermont – Here’s Why
Vermont is the trendy underdog pick in brackets around the nation. If you peek in on Twitter, you will even find a select few Razorback fans afraid that “Hogs gon’ Hog” and lose in the opening round.
You can’t overlook any time that is playing the NCAA tournament. As long as the hogs come focused and ready to play, they should advance to Saturday.
Date: 3/17/22 | TV: TNT
Tip-off: Approx 8:20pm CST
Line: AR -5.0
A Look At Vermont
There’s no question that Vermont passes the eye test. Known for their ability to shoot the three ball, they actually make their living inside the arc. Their star player, Ryan Davis, is a 6’8, 250lb senior who lead the American East in scoring. He has solid footwork on the inside and boasts a 57.9 field goal percentage.
If a defense tries to bring help in on Davis, the Catamounts have 8 players who have hit 20+ three-pointers, including Davis himself. When they do happen to miss a shot, they rebound at an eye popping high rate.
Strength vs Strength = Bad Matchup For Catamounts
When Eric Musselman was first hired as the head coach of the Razorbacks, he made it clear that the Hogs would play positionless basketball. Having 5 guys on the court at all times who can handle the ball, shoot and defend interchangeably has proven to be a successful model.
Regardless of who Arkansas rotates on the floor, the hogs will have the more athletic 5 on the court at all times. Outside of Chris Lykes, the hogs 5 will generally be stronger and taller as well. And when Lykes does play, he will easily be the quickest player on the court.
This means the strength for Vermont plays right into the hands of Arkansas. As great as Vermont’s offense has been, they are a slow paced team that depend on screen action and creating mismatches in half-court sets.
Vermont plays a 5-out offense, meaning they like to space the floor and attack on-one-one. When help defense arrives, they burn you from deep. Regardless of switches on screens, the Razorbacks should be able to play an extended defense without the need for help. If that happens, Vermont will struggle offensively.
In their only two Power 5 matchups this season, Vermont was held under 60 points against both Maryland and Providence. The Razorbacks are arguably one of the best defensive teams in the nation, so expect more of the same.
Vermont has played 33 games this season. Only 4 were against teams ranked in the top 125 of adjusted defensive efficiency.— Ben Brandon (@BenBrandonHoops) March 15, 2022
In those 4 games, UV scored 53, 57, 58, and 63 points.
79th ranked Providence is the highest the Caramounts have faced. Arkansas finished 16th in adjDE.
Catamounts on Defense
Known for their offensive efficiency, Vermont actually play very well defensively. Still, Vermont doesn’t have anyone on their roster who can guard Notae one-on-one. Jaylin Williams will have the height advantage on the inside against Davis. Stanley Umude could have a big game as no Catamount defender should be able to stop his mid-range pull-up.
With Arkansas’ struggle at times from the outside, you can expect the Catamounts to play help defense and give shooters space.
This should free up cutters like Au’Diese Toney and Davonte Davis to attack the rim. Thanks to the size advantage the Razorbacks have over the Catamounts, action around the rim should go the Hogs way.
Keys to the Game
This is March Madness. The unexpected can happen. If the Razorbacks come out flat and expect to win just by showing up, they could lose this one. Here’s our keys to making sure that doesn’t happen:
- Be Alert On Defense / Pick-and-rolls
- No Easy Shots Behind The Arc
- Get Back On Defense After Missed Shots / Turnovers
- Keep Jaylin Williams and J.D. Notae out of Foul Trouble
Arkansas 72 – Vermont 59