South Dakota to challenge Hoop Hogs

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The Arkansas Razorbacks have smothered their first four opponents with outstanding defense, and that has accounted for their 30-point-per-game margin of victory and 4-0 start in head coach Eric Musselman’s first season.

The Razorbacks have held their four opponents to just 11% shooting (8 of 69) from the three-point line this season, which is third in the nation behind Sacramento State at 9.5 percent and Idaho State at 10.2 percent.

All of that will be tested tonight when the undefeated South Dakota Coyotes (5-0) visit Bud Walton Arena at 8 p.m. for an SEC Network-televised matchup.

The Coyotes are sharp-shooters, sinking an incredible 51.1 percent of their three-point shots. To put that in perspective, the Razorbacks are shooting just 45.6 percent from the field on all shots and 28 percent from three-point range.

One of those stats is going to have to give Friday in a game that should be each team’s stiffest contest so far this season.

As a point of reference, both squads have beaten Texas Southern in home games this season. South Dakota defeated the Tigers, 88-69, on Nov. 15, while the Razorbacks dismantled Texas Southern, 82-51, on Tuesday. Comparing scores doesn’t always tell you that much, but it is interesting going into the game.

The Razorbacks should win, but it wouldn’t hurt if Hog fans turned out in good numbers for this game. The Razorbacks are winning and playing some of the best defense we’ve seen On the Hill in recent years, particularly this early in the season. Fans ought to be excited after suffering through such a brutal football season and be on their toes to root for a team that’s busting their tails for their first-year coach.

Another victory would give the Razorbacks some momentum as they get ready for their first taste of the road this season on Monday in Atlanta when they play Georgia Tech (2-1). The Yellow Jackets lost a close one to Georgia, 82-78, on Wednesday.