No. 4 UConn and No. 8 Arkansas are set to face off in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7:15 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Arkansas enters the Sweet 16 matchup against UConn after upsetting No. 1 Kansas 72-71 last weekend. UConn’s second round matchup was different as they started off rocky in the first half but easily breezed by St Mary’s in the second half to advance.
Arkansas Key Players
For Arkansas, junior guard Ricky Council IV leads the Razorbacks with 16.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and one steal per game. Council averages about 34 minutes per game and has made an appearance in all 35 games for Arkansas this season. In their win against Kansas, Council put up 21 points and 6 rebounds. Another player to watch is freshman guard Anthony Black. He averages 12.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and four assists per game. Junior guard Davonte Davis led the Razorbacks past Kansas with 25 points total and 21 of them coming in the second half.
Arkansas announced that Black is a game time decision for the Razorbacks because of a foot injury. Sophomore forward Trevon Brazile still remains out for Arkansas because of a knee injury.
Ricky Council IV talks about transferring to Arkansas, making game winning FT’s and the Razorbacks potentially making three straight Elite 8’s: #Razorbacks #MarchMadness #NCAAMBB pic.twitter.com/CCeXImThpq
— Nigel Dyson (@nigeldyson5) March 19, 2023
UConn Key Players
Adama Sanogo has been an offensive star for the Huskies all season. He averages 17.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins has also become a huge part of the Huskies offensive efforts. Hawkins adds on 15.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Another threat for the Huskies is Andre Johnson. Although he may not be putting up many points, he records 4.4 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game.
JORDAN HAWKINS HEATING UP FOR UCONN 🔥
FOUR straight threes in second half pic.twitter.com/36WfqtwUOA
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 19, 2023
What UConn Needs to Win
A major factor in this matchup will be UConn’s defensive effort against Arkansas. The physicality from the Huskies could allow them to wear Arkansas down and tire out their key players. UConn coming out aggressively and fouling could come as an advantage for the Huskies because of how Arkansas struggles with free throws. Every player for the Razorbacks except Council shoots below 70% from the stripe.
On the other side, Arkansas fouls often which UConn needs to take advantage of. UConn has a 75.8% free throw percentage. This could potentially help add crucial points for the Huskies if the game comes close at the end of the second.
The winner of this game will advance to the Elite 8 and play the winner of Gonzaga and UCLA.