Two teams looking to bounce back from losses to highly ranked opponents meet Sunday as Arkansas faces Connecticut in the third-place game of the PK80 Invitational’s Victory Bracket in Portland. Arkansas allowed 50 points in the second half of Friday’s 87-68 loss to No. 9 North Carolina while UConn was held to 35 percent shooting in a 77-57 loss to fifth-ranked Michigan State.
Before coming up empty in Friday’s semifinals, both teams opened the tournament Thursday on a high note as the Razorbacks notched a 92-83 win over Oklahoma and UConn defeated Oregon 71-63. The Razorbacks are scoring 80 points per game and boast a stellar backcourt in senior guards Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford, who are averaging a combined 37 points through five games. Macon’s status for Sunday is up in the air after the senior left Friday’s game with a sprained ankle midway through the second half. The Razorbacks figure to be tested by a UConn team that was picked to finish fifth in the American Athletic Conference but have opened with a promising 4-1 record.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT ARKANSAS (4-1): Guards Anton Beard and C.J. Jones combined for 22 points in the loss to North Carolina, but the Razorbacks struggled to contain Tar Heels forward Luke Maye, who recorded career highs of 28 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Coach Mike Anderson remains high on freshman forward Daniel Gafford, who scored five points in seven minutes against North Carolina while battling foul trouble. The frontcourt also includes sophomore forward Adrio Bailey, who had four rebounds and five blocks against the Tar Heels.
ABOUT UCONN (4-1): The Huskies’ trio of guards Jalen Adams, Terry Larrier and Alterique Gilbert combined for 50 of the team’s 57 points against Michigan State as the Huskies struggled to generate much offense near the basket. Starting forwards Tyler Polley and David Onuorah were held scoreless and the Huskies were outscored 40-14 in the paint. Junior forward Eric Cobb, averaging five rebounds per game, has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and is doubtful to face the Razorbacks.
1. Arkansas is 40-3 over the past seven seasons when recording at least 20 assists.
2. UConn has gone 72-31 in neutral-site games over the last 15 years.
3. The Razorbacks own a plus-58 scoring advantage in the first half this season.
PREDICTION: Arkansas 73, UConn 66