College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Cincinnati vs. Arkansas: Why the Bearcats Will Lose
Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
- Cincinnati faces Arkansas in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Classic.
- The Bearcats are coming off a dominating and impressive win over Illinois while the Razorbacks defeated Kansas State.
- D.J. James has you covered with a preview and a bet for this matchup.
Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Cincinnati shocked the college basketball world on Monday night by defeating the 14th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini by 20 points.
Arkansas beat the Kansas State Wildcats steadily by eight and will now meet Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame Classic title game.
Cincinnati proved it is a team worthy of a look this season with a notable win, while Arkansas is in line for a 4-5 seed — if the season were to end today.
Fortunately, it does not, as Feast Week continues.
Cincinnati has had trouble behind the arc and Arkansas has a top-25 defense. The combination of these two should lead to a strong appearance from Arkansas.
Cincinnati proved on Monday night that it should not be underrated. The Bearcats routed a strong (although struggling) Illinois team.
Their defense was tenacious and stopped Kofi Cockburn in the paint. They looked strong and they even out-rebounded the Illini despite a size disadvantage. Their defensive efficiency now rests at 42nd in the country, per KenPom, so they are finally getting the recognition they sorely deserve.
Like Monday night, they should have another size concern with Connor Vanover on Arkansas. Vanover is not the same, dominating presence as Cockburn, but he is 7-foot-3 inches tall. The Bearcats will probably utilize the same strategy by double and triple teaming him with a quick swarm the second he touches the ball.
The Razorbacks do not have timid guards — like Illinois does at this point of the season. JD Notae, Chris Lykes and Au’Diese Toney will shoot when needed, as all three are the leading scorers on the Razorbacks.
This is simply too overwhelming for the Cincinnati defense. Kansas State held the Razorbacks to 3-of-22 from behind the arc on Monday, so expect some positive regression.
Cincinnati has its own set of issues from downtown this season. Mike Saunders and Jeremiah Davenport are the only staples of the starting lineup who can knock down outside shots. This will cause issues if the Bearcats are trailing at all on Tuesday night.
Notae and Davonte Davis average 5.3 steals per game for Arkansas. Yes, Cincinnati does a fine job of taking care of the basketball, but these two will cause some disruptions.
The Arkansas defense is strong. They are 26th, per KenPom, in defensive efficiency.
Vanover, Toney, Jaylin Williams and Stanley Umude all average four rebounds or more per game. This explains how the Razorbacks are able to limit opponents to an offensive rebounding percentage of 21.3%. This is their first advantage.
The Razorbacks also like to push the pace. Even with a new set of offensive weapons, via the transfer portal, they ensure the game moves at their speed.
Cincinnati ranks in the middle of the NCAA in adjusted tempo. The Bearcats will not be able to slow down Arkansas’ offense. This could throw them off their rhythm and provides Arkansas another boost.
Finally, Arkansas does not necessarily shoot 3s impeccably, but it has weapons from long range. The Razorbacks shoot 34% as a team thus far but have four shooters above the 40% mark.
Cincinnati allows the 45th-most 3-pointers against, which gives the Razorbacks’ offense a massive edge. Sure, the Bearcats can hold opponents to 25.3% from downtown, but that number is skewed to lower major opponents.
Cincinnati vs. Arkansas Betting Pick
The Razorbacks have a quick offense with new faces, which adjusts nicely to Eric Musselman’s gameplan.
Cincinnati will drop its first game of the season on Tuesday. Arkansas will push the pace more quickly than Illinois did and Cincy will not get as many inside opportunities with the strength of the Arkansas guards.
The Bearcats also do not shoot well enough from long range to compete with Arkansas.
Take the Razorbacks at -5 and play it to -6.