Preview: Vanderbilt Visits Arkansas Tonight

Greg Arias

The Commodores hit the road for a Wednesday night contest in Fayetteville as they face the Arkansas Razorbacks in their second SEC road game of 2020.

For Vanderbilt, this will be their first game where they will unveil their reworked offense in the absence of Aaron Nesmith. Because of his season-ending injury head coach, Jerry Stackhouse must now find a new way to score points with Saben Lee as the primary scorer, but from there, there are big questions as to who will assume a larger role in scoring. 

Scottie Pippen Jr., Maxwell Evans and Dylan Disu have all had games in which they scored but none have been consistent. One or more of them now must become a consistent scoring option if this team is to have any chance of breaking their current 22-game winless streak in conference play. 

As for the Razorbacks, they are led by guard Mason Jones, who leads them in scoring (19.4), rebounds (6.1 per game), assists (3.3),  and steals (2.0). He also shoots 36% from three-point range. He is supported by fellow guards Isaiah Joe (18.2 ppg) and Jimmy Whitt Jr. (13.8) in scoring.  

The Hogs will have an advantage with depth as they have four players who average more than thirty minutes per game and another three who log more than 13 minutes per game. 

Arkansas averages 74.6 ppg while allowing 61.9 ppg, good for 41st in the nation in scoring defense while building their current 13-2 overall and 2-1 conference record. They hold wins over Texas A&M and Ole Miss with a loss to LSU in conference play. 

The Razorbacks also rebound the basketball well,  averaging 33.6 per game and will be an area where the Commodores must find a way to compete in the boards to be able to have a chance at the upset.  

Vanderbilt has struggled this season with teams who have a big inside presence, something that Arkansas has but does not feature prominently as they are a guard dominated team.  One player for the Razorbacks who fits the mold of a big-bodied inside player is Reggie Chaney, who at 6'8" 222 has that build, but averages just 2.8 ppg while playing just over 13 minutes a game. 

It will be a tough task in a hostile environment for the Commodores, but they have already played on the road at Auburn and competed well, but that was before the Nesmith injury.   

While being on the road should not be an issue, the Razorbacks will present one.