Arkansas basketball vs. Troy: How to watch, stream, listen

Arkansas returns to action after an entertaining Maui trip, here’s some important details to get you ready for tonight’s game against Troy.

After an exciting Feast Week in Maui, Arkansas basketball is back home in Bud Walton Arena tonight. The Troy Trojans (6-1) come to town and look to take advantage of a possible Hawaii hangover for the Hogs.

“I’ve talked to other people who have played in Maui. I think that’s one of the concerns is coming back and playing your first game,” Musselman said ahead of Monday’s game. “So, that is of concern. I know sleep patterns are a little bit messed up right now for all of us. But hopefully by (Sunday) night we’ll be a little bit more adjusted timeframe-wise.”

Arkansas will need to be well-adjusted against a Troy team that has road victories over Florida State and Montana as part of an unusual early season schedule.

Troy is forcing 20 turnovers per game while holding opponents to just 62 points per game. They also are really good at keeping opponents away from the offensive glass, ranking 4th in the country in defensive offensive rebounding percentage.

KenPom is giving Arkansas a 96% chance to win tonight’s contest, and that’s not factoring in the possibility of Nick Smith making his debut for the Hogs. While it might be unlikely, the talented point guard has made significant progress recovering from a knee injury and is nearing his freshman debut.

Here’s how you can catch all of tonight’s action from Fayetteville.

The 10 best Cyber Monday deals for the Arkansas Razorbacks fan in your life

The best holiday gift ideas for any Arkansas Razorbacks fan in your life.

Happy holidays, Arkansas fans!

Football season is coming down the home stretch, basketball season has started, and for NCAA fans it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

After a big win against Ole Miss, Razorbacks Wire is here to give you yet another reason to celebrate this holiday season.

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Opinion: Resilient Razorbacks show March potential in Maui

The Maui experience for Arkansas basketball showed us that they’re right on schedule to be ready for March.

The three days of basketball from the Maui Invitational were filled with a March-like tournament electricity and intensity.

Passionate fans lambasting officials on social media, upset coaches yelling at opposing players and scuffles in the postgame handshake lines all stem from the intensity exhibited on the court over those three days last week. There’s arguably no better environment for a young, inexperienced Razorback team to grow and get better this early in the season.

Yes, Arkansas is still very young, inexperienced and have yet to play with one of their best players in Nick Smith, but they showcased that they’re deserving of some of the preseason hype and ready for primetime, heavyweight fights nonetheless.

In the two games against No. 10 Creighton and No. 17 San Diego State, the Hogs were up against teams whose rosters were filled with fifth and sixth-year seniors. Both teams play extremely good defense while moving the ball selflessly on the offensive end, which is a good recipe for beating this Arkansas team this early in the year.

Early on in each of those games Arkansas struggled offensively and faced a double-digit deficit. But to the credit of this young team they showed an incredible amount of resiliency to chip away and stay within striking distance until the end.

A lot of times you’ll see young teams shut down and check out, allowing a 10 or 11 point deficit double to 20+ in a matter of minutes. That’s what happened in Arkansas’ 90-60 preseason exhibition loss to Texas in October.

That never happened in Maui.

In their loss to Creighton on Tuesday, Arkansas trailed by 12 with 1:43 left in the first half. Over that final span, the Hogs used a flurry of quick layups, and one beautiful alley-oop from Anthony Black to Trevon Brazile, to cut the lead in half and head into the second half only down 40-34. Creighton never led by double digits again.

In the win over San Diego State on Wednesday, Arkansas trailed by double digits most of the game, but never let the Aztecs extend it more than 13 points. Despite being noticeably fatigued, the Hogs clawed back to erase an eight-point deficit with 5:32 to go in the game to force overtime and eventually win 78-74.

The ability to overcome fatigue and inexperience in an intense and competitive environment can’t be understated. Maui was the ideal learning experience for this Arkansas team, and Eric Musselman understands the value it holds.

“Sometimes even when you lose there are great learning lessons. Creighton, San Diego State, both teams are really well coached,” said Musselman. “So, certainly a huge challenge for us, and I thought our young team grew up over those three games. I think as we get into conference play, those games we will be able to reflect back on and use them as learning lessons.”

If we’ve learned anything from Eric Musselman’s tenure in Fayetteville, it’s that this team’s best basketball has yet to be played. Arkansas still has a lot of room for improvement, but after Maui it’s clear that the early season hype is warranted.

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Uh, OK: Hogs’ next opponent, Troy, has wins over Florida State and Mississippi College For Women

Arkansas’ next opponent, Troy, has wins over three non-Division I teams this year.

Make that headline make sense.

The Troy Trojans head to Bud Walton Arena on Monday for a standard tip-off against No. 9 Arkansas in nonconference play. There’s nothing unusual about it at all. In fact, Troy has been a fairly common out-of-SEC opponent for Arkansas the last 25 years. Monday will mark the opponents’ seventh meeting since 1996.

And the Trojans don’t appear to be half bad. They were picked 10th in the preseason in the 14-team Sun Belt, but enter Monday at 7-1. Guard Duke Miles averages 14 points a game is shooting 47% from 3-point range. Guard Nelson Phillips is a lot like Anthony Black in that he is scoring 13.6 points a game, grabbing six boards and picking up three-plus steals a night.

Troy beat Florida State, too, in its opener against a Division I opponent on November 14. The Trojans had already played two lower-division teams, including Division II Montevallo and Division III Mississippi College For Women (which is a co-ed school, actually).

Arkansas is back at home for the first time in more than a week. The Razorbacks are coming off a 2-1 week at the Maui Invitational. They beat Louisville in the opener and San Diego State in the third-place game while falling to Creighton in the semifinals. The Hogs are 5-1 on the season and could see the debut of freshman guard Nick Smith Jr., though he’s more likely for the weekend game against San Jose State.

Tip from BWA is at 7 p.m.

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Nick Smith Jr. could make Arkansas basketball debut this week

Arkansas freshman guard Nick Smith Jr. getting closer to game action, debut for Hogs.

Arkansas guard Nick Smith Jr. has yet to play for the Razorbacks this year, a knee injury keeping him out of action and most of full-speed practice.

Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman said Saturday ahead of Arkansas’ game with Troy on Monday, though, that Smith’s practice intensity has increased in recent days and the five-star freshman is scheduled to meet with the doctor again Monday. Musselman was clear that Smith had not been fully cleared as of Saturday.

“He’s starting to do some team stuff again,” Musselman said. “Obviously, (Saturday) we’ll be able to get a little bit more active. Certainly, (Sunday) will be more active than even today. He’s moving in the right direction for sure.”

Arkansas is 5-1 this year with the lone loss coming in an instant classic in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational to No. 8 Creighton.

Smith only makes the 10th-ranked Razorbacks better. He is projected lottery pick with some sites labeling him as a top-three overall choice when the NBA draft rolls around in April.

The Razorbacks meanwhile have been led by freshman guard Anthony Black and transfer forwards Ricky Council and Trevon Brazile. Black is averaging 14.2 points and 5.3 rebounds to go along with a team-high 14 steals and is tied for the team lead with 21 assists.

Council leads the team in scoring at 19 a game and in minutes at 36.5. Brazile is third on the team in scoring at 13.3 and leads with 7.8 rebounds a game.

Arkansas hosts Troy on Monday from Bud Walton Arena and plays San Jose State on Saturday from Fayetteville in its two games this week.

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Beyond the box: Veteran leadership key in Arkansas’ win over SDSU

Arkansas proved its not just talented but tough in Wednesday’s win over San Diego State.

Kamani Johnson likely won’t finish in the top six or seven on the Arkansas roster in minutes played.

But the 19 he was on the court Wednesday were of massive importance in the Razorbacks’ 78-74 overtime win over San Diego State in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational.

Johnson, a 6-foot-9 forward, is the kind of player from the old school. He’s a rough-and-tumble post player who won’t take many jumpers – or many shots at all – and whose value comes from battling on the block.

Those kinds of players aren’t en vogue in basketball, but Wednesday showed there is still a place for them. Arkansas coach Eric Musselman leaned on his big man in the late going, with Johnson’s toughness and leadership proving paramount for a Hogs team with only two returners.

Let’s take a look beyond the box score at how Arkansas came away with the victory.

Arkansas’ wild rally caps off Maui Invitational as Hogs beat San Diego State

Kamani Johnson’s tip-in at the buzzer forced overtime and Arkansas held on in the final five minutes.

Kamani Johnson’s tip-in at the regulation buzzer sent the game to overtime and he and Ricky Council scored nine of Arkansas’ 11 points in OT to lead the No. 9 Razorbacks over No. 17 San Diego State, 78-74, late Wednesday from the Maui Invitational.

Arkansas never had a lead in the second half, but the teams were tied at 61 with 3:37 left in regulation. Trailing by two with seven seconds left, the Razorbacks forced Lamont Butler into a turnover. Anthony Black drove toward the hoop in the final seconds and missed a layup, but Johnson leaped and tipped the ball through the hoop as the buzzer sounded.

Johnson’s layup with 1:53 left in overtime proved the game’s final field goal and gave Arkansas a three-point lead. He only made two field goals in the game.

Johnson played 19 minutes, three fewer than he had played in total all season, scoring seven points and grabbing seven rebounds. Trevon Brazile led Arkansas in scoring with 20 points while Ricky Council had 19 and Anthony Black added 15.

San Diego State held the Razorbacks to 40% shooting from the floor, but were outscored by Arkansas’ bench 33-17.

The Hogs (5-1) return to action Monday at Bud Walton Arena on Monday when they host Troy.

Beyond the Box: Hogs vs Creighton – Did officials hose Arkansas?

Did the officials cost Arkansas the game against Creighton? Not exactly, turns out.

Hassling officials is an American pasttime.

It’s especially prevalent in college basketball, a sport where any close game feels like it could come down to whether or not the ladies and gentlment in striped shirts give your favorite team some calls or not.

Creighton was on the end of more beneficial ones than Arkansas on Tuesday from the Maui Invitational. The Bluejays knocked off the Razorbacks, 90-87, in the semifinals of the tournament behind a 29-17 free-throw attempt advantage.

Arkansas’ stars showed out and gave them a chance. Anthony Black had 26 points, six rebounds and six assists. Ricky Council had 25 points. Trevon Brazile had 17.

But it was emblematic of what is becoming a concern for the whole of the season. The Razorbacks aren’t a deep basketball team.

Let’s go beyond the box and examine what, besides free throws, went wrong against Creighton.

Arkansas basketball vs. San Diego State: How to watch, stream, listen

Arkansas faces off against San Diego State in the 3rd place game of the Maui Invitational. Here’s how to watch!

Following a tough 90-87 loss to No. 10 Creighton on Tuesday night, Arkansas basketball has another quick turnaround. They’re in action later tonight to play No. 17 San Diego State in the 3rd place game of the Maui Invitational.

Last night’s loss was the first of the season for the Hogs, and it came against a very experienced and veteran-led Creighton team. While officiating was the major focus following the game, it’s important to remember that Arkansas has 11 newcomers and was without one of the best players in the country, Nick Smith.

The effort shown in spite of the inexperience and officiating is a great sign moving forward because Arkansas will continue you get better as the season goes on.

Tonight’s test against San Diego State is going to be similar to last night, as the Aztecs are a senior-laden team that is very good defensively. They return all but three rotation players from last year’s team, which lost in overtime to Creighton in the NCAA Tournament. They also added guard Darrion Trammell and forward Jaedon LeDee through the transfer portal, and the two have led the team in scoring this season.

The Aztecs are really solid defensively and love to share the ball on offense, which presents the same problems for this young Razorback team that Creighton did last night.

Arkansas is going to be in for another tough challenge, but win or lose, this team is still getting valuable experience that should pay off in March.

Here’s more on how you can catch all of tonight’s action.

Eric Musselman, Ricky Council angry, short after loss to Creighton

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman was less than thrilled with the officiating Tuesday in the Hogs’ loss to Creighton.

Eric Musselman is known for his upbeat demeanor.

Tuesday night, following Arkansas’ 90-87 loss to Creighton in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, he was short in his responses.

Much of it seemed to have to do with the officiating in the game. Social media was aflame with the belief Creighton received more beneficial calls. The Bluejays outshot Arkansas, 29-17, in free-throw attempts in the game.

Ricky Council, who scored 24 points for the Razorbacks, joined the Arkansas coach at the dais for the post-game press conference. Council was asked two questions before exiting. Musselman stuck around and was asked two more.

None of the responses were lengthy.

Arkansas will play either Arizona or San Diego State in the third-place game at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday.