Oklahoma Sooners vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 9th 2023

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Next season, Arkansas and Oklahoma will become SEC rivals.

On Saturday, though, the Razorbacks and 19th-ranked Sooners will face off for the final time – barring a postseason game – as nonconference rivals when they play a neutral-site game in Tulsa, Okla., for the third consecutive season.

Oklahoma (8-0) is off to its best start since 2015-16, which includes a pair of neutral-site wins.

A big piece of the Sooners’ success so far has been their success inside, especially from former walk-on Sam Godwin, who is averaging 8.3 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds and is shooting 71.4 percent.

“Sam is hard-nosed,” teammate Milos Uzan said. “He plays hard every time he’s on the court, however many minutes he’s going to get. Just his presence, him boxing out, crashing the glass hard – he brings a lot to the team, and he brings a lot of energy. I really appreciate him for sure.”

In Oklahoma’s 72-51 win over Providence on Tuesday, Godwin returned from a one-game absence due to illness to score 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Oklahoma’s winning streak is its longest since a 10-game run in 2017-18.

“What I take away is the guys are hungry to get better,” Sooners coach Porter Moser said. “These guys are hungry. We know it’s one game at a time. We know we have a big one coming up.”

The Razorbacks figure to give Godwin and the Sooners a challenge on the interior. Arkansas is averaging 7.1 blocks per game, among the best in the nation, while surrendering less than two per game.

The Razorbacks are also averaging more than 28 free-throw attempts per game, in the top 10 nationally. Oklahoma is averaging just 18.5 free throws per game.

“Arkansas … is extreme length and athleticism playing really hard,” Moser said. “That’s what they do. They play really hard. They get their athleticism into the game. … You’ve got to match their effort with their athleticism.”

After losing three of four in mid-November, Arkansas (6-3) comes in on a two-game winning streak that includes a home victory over Duke on Nov. 29.

The Razorbacks are led by junior guard Tramon Mark and senior guard Khalif Battle. Mark comes into the game averaging 17 points per game while Battle is averaging 16.8.

Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman said the Sooners’ impending move from the Big 12 to the SEC isn’t in his mind at all as they prepare for the game.

“Look, they’re a really well-coached team,” Musselman said. “It’s great they’re coming into the league (because of) proximity. All those things make a lot of sense, but I’m not looking at Saturday’s game – not for one second – and saying, ‘Oh, wow, they’re coming into the SEC next year. How are they going to play this game?’ I don’t really care that they’re coming in at all.”

The teams have split their last two meetings in Tulsa, with Arkansas winning 88-78 last year after the Sooners won 88-66 the year before. Arkansas leads the all-time series 17-13.

–Field Level Media

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