North Florida (3-7) will face its fourth SEC team of the young season (at Auburn, at LSU and vs. Florida) on Saturday afternoon. UNF is at Arkansas (7-1) for the second straight year. The Ospreys’ close out a grueling three-game stretch (top-25 teams Florida and Syracuse last week) in Fayetteville. Head coach Matthew Driscoll looks to lead his team to their first road win of 2016-17 and defeat an SEC squad for the first time in program history – 0-18 all-time.
North Florida and Arkansas will tip at 5:30 p.m. eastern time with coverage on SEC Network. 1010XL will have its pregame show starting at 5 p.m. live from Bud Walton Arena.
It’s the second time North Florida will play Arkansas. Last year, the Ospreys played the Razorbacks in Bud Walton Arena on Dec. 22 and fell 97-72. UNF kept it close for a good bit; only trailing 49-41 at halftime. Dallas Moore led the way with 17 points and seven assists in that matchup. Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley – one of the best seniors in college basketball this year – was unstoppable with 22 points.
Dallas Moore has been a freak over the past week or more. He was named ASUN Co-Player of the Week. Moore has turned into a guaranteed 30-ppg player. Even if the rest of America is sleeping on him, NBA scouts are paying attention.
It’s the combo of threats with Dusty Hannahs and Moses Kingsley for Arkansas. Hannahs has recently been the Razorbacks’ sixth man. Kingsley vs. Ospreys’ big Romelo Banks will be one of the top battles this season for UNF’s redshirt junior.
It could be the five the Ospreys go with for the rest of 2016 – Dallas Moore (#14), Aaron Bodager (12), Garrett Sams (11), Wajid Aminu (2) and Romelo Banks (33). Sams got his first career start – as a freshman – last Saturday, which was his 19th birthday, at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome. Aminu could be one of the best offensive rebounders in America. Again, he is a freshman.
If Arkansas continues with Dusty Hannahs on the bench, they’ll use three guards Manuale Watkins (#21), Jaylen Barford (0), Daryl Macon (4), Dustin Thomas (13) and Moses Kingsley (33). Head coach Mike Anderson has maybe seven to nine potential starting options.
About the Razorbacks:
Arkansas is 7-0 at home this season. Their lone loss was at Minnesota. So many newcomers and they’re trying to find the proper minutes for the top-seven Razorbacks. The first four or five games of the season they had an issue with turnovers, very similar to the Ospreys’ troubles. Arkansas will want to play fast in transition like UNF has already seen against Miami and Florida.
The Ospreys need the bench and paint play to be consistent. With major turnovers seeming to be in the rear-view window, UNF is showing the potential of knocking off a Power 5 for the third straight year.
Arkansas forces turnovers and they move. If the Razorbacks play their style, North Florida could just be along for the ride.
How UNF Can Win:
This game concludes the Ospreys’ toughest stretch of the season, with two top-25 squads last week and now the Razorbacks. North Florida will have to play near perfect basketball. But with Dallas Moore having the best scoring, takeover run of his collegiate career and a new starting five, the Ospreys look the most impressive right now.