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SEC Hoops Preview: #18 Arkansas

After suffering another heart breaking loss to rival Ole Miss, the Bulldogs have less than 48 hours to prepare for No. 18 Arkansas.

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Hogs vs Dawgs: Part II

Who: Arkansas Razorbacks (21-5, 10-3) @ Mississippi State Bulldogs (12-14, 5-8)

Where to Watch: Fox Sports Regional and ESPN3

When to Watch: February 21, 3 PM CST

***Roquez Johnson and I.J. Ready are game time decisions for tomorrow's contest.

Mississippi State led rival Ole Miss by double digits in both of their contests this season and in both cases the Bulldogs came out as 6 point losers. Combine the disappointing loss with the likely absence of Roquez Johnson and the Bulldogs are left with a lot of questions heading into their first game against a ranked opponent this season. Arkansas, victorious in 8 of their last 9 games, comes to Humphrey Coliseum looking to complete the sweep of the Bulldogs this season.

The offensive firepower of the Razorbacks has only continued to improve as the season as progressed. In their last five games Arkansas has averaged 78 points per contest and the team is now 9th in the country in scoring. The Bulldogs will need to find an answer for Bobby Portis, who scored 19 on the Bulldogs in their last meeting and is currently 2nd in the SEC is scoring. The Razorbacks are a solid NCAA Tournament team that will be looking to wrap up the regular season without any injuries or questions heading into the postseason. A loss to Mississippi State would certainly muddy the picture for Arkansas.

Rick Ray is going to have to find some way to give his team an energy boost. A two day turnaround from a disappointing home loss to your archrival is draining both physically and emotionally. If Mississippi State is going to have any shot at the upset the Bulldogs will have to look for Gavin Ware to score on the inside and Sword from behind the arc. The loss of Johnson severely hinders the Bulldogs offensive game plan and will likely give the Razorbacks a definite advantage on the inside.

I'm afraid it could get ugly inside The Hump this weekend. Arkansas held the Bulldogs to 9 first half points in their first meeting and while that type of defensive effort is unlikely to occur again, the Razorbacks are just too talented for Mississippi State. Expect Arkansas to continue their dynamite offensive performance against MSU with the Razorbacks getting an easy double-digit win.

Prediction: Arkansas 80-62