BBL: Plenty on line as Cats-Hogs tangle at Bud Walton

Big Blue Links (and excerpts) for Saturday:

Jerry Tipton of Herald-Leader: “Kentucky, 20-8 overall and 11-4 in the Southeastern Conference, packed an air of confidence for the trip to Arkansas. Mays noted how Harrow has been playing ‘like a point guard should.’ Freshman Archie Goodwin has ‘stepped it up,’ he said. Mays has been the third-most accurate three-point shooter in league play. His 46.3-percent shooting trails only the Florida tandem of freshman Michael Frazier II (54.9 percent) and forward Erik Murphy (47.5).”

Robbie Neiswanger of Arkansas News: “(BJ) Young was held well below his season average of 15.3 points, scoring four points on 2 of 11 shooting in the Maravich Assembly Center. The guard started Wednesday’s game on the bench for a change of pace, but he failed to reach double figures for the third straight game and eighth time this season. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said Wednesday it’s clear Young’s confidence has been jolted as the Razorbacks (17-11, 8-7 in Southeastern Conference) prepare for Saturday’s game against Kentucky (20-8, 11-4 in SEC) in Bud Walton Arena. He has scored 7 points on 2 of 19 shooting the past two games.”

Brett Dawson of Cats Illustrated: “The Razorbacks (17-11, 8-7) hardly have given foes heck on the road. But it’s a 40-Minutes-of-Hellacious job to beat the Hogs at home. Arkansas is 16-1 at Bud Walton Arena this season, 1-10 away from it. Combine Arkansas’ full-court press and home-court success with the other pressure Kentucky is feeling – to stay on the winning track for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament – and UK faces an uphill climb on Saturday.”

Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal: “It won’t be easy for anyone wearing blue in that building. Beyond a clear home-court advantage — 12th-ranked Syracuse is the only team to win at Arkansas this season — the Razorbacks also have a star guard (BJ Young) and formidable forward (Marshawn Powell) that pack a potent one-two punch. They average 15.3 and 14.9 points, respectively. Arkansas ranks second in the SEC in steals per game (9.1) and third in blocks (5.1). The Hogs will hound Kentucky with full-court pressure and traps and a heavy dose of the rough stuff the Cats have had some trouble with this season.”

Guy Ramsey of Cat Scratches: “As it turned out, the development of Coach Cal’s youngest team to date was a much more complicated process than that. Perhaps those moments were signs of progress, but they certainly weren’t the turning point everyone has been awaiting. Once again, the Cats are being asked about a potential breakthrough. UK is in the midst of a three-game winning streak – all at home and all without Nerlens Noel. So what makes this time different? According to Ryan Harrow, it’s the simple fact that the Cats can’t afford to mess around anymore.”

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