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Gameday!

I set forward the tempo-free numbers earlier this week here. The short story: comparable on defense, IU has the edge in offense, Arkansas has played much better lately. The biggest concern is the size of Arkansas's interior players and the Hogs' shot-blocking ability. IU has struggled against teams like that, most conspicuously against Connecticut. Here are the individuals to watch:
  • Senior Darian Townes averages 12 points and 1 blocks a game and shoots 54 percent from the field;
  • Seven-footer Steven Hill plays only 19 minutes a game but averages 2.4 blocks per game. He doesn't shoot much (4.4 ppg) but he shoots 68 percent from the field;
  • Senior Sonny Weems (6-6) is the Hogs' leading scorer at 14.3 ppg and shoots 36 percent from three point range;
  • Sophomore Patrick Beverly averages 12 points a game and shoots 38 percent on about 5 three point attempts per game;
  • Gary Ervin appears to be the point guard and averages 9.6 ppg/3.7apg. He shoots quite a bit, but not with much success: 44 percent from the field and 29 percent from behind the arc (although Eric Gordon's numbers are rapidly descending to that level);
  • Charles Thomas averages 8.9 ppg despite only 21 minutes per game.

Overall, Arkansas has a balanced attack, with five guys averaging between about 9 and 14 points a game. Well, as usual, no grand predictions from me. On paper, IU had a much better season than Arkansas and should be able to win if the Hoosier can recapture their ways of the first three quarters of the season. Unfortunately, IU has shown no signs of returning to form, so if forced to pick a straight-up winner I would pick Arkansas. Still, hopefully some combination of Dakich, DJ, and self-respect will compel the team to play well and advance to the second round.