Points figure to be at a premium tonight when SEC rivals Alabama and Arkansas square off at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Game time is 7:00 PM and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN3. 

The game opened as a pick but the Razorbacks are now favored by one on the spread. The total is 132.5 on the NCAA basketball odds board.

The Crimson Tide (17-9 SU, 10-12 ATS) won the first meeting on January 28, beating Arkansas 72-66. The Tide shot 50 percent from the field with Trevor Releford scoring a game high 18 points.

Alabama has won four of its last six games to improve to 6-6 in SEC play. Their latest win came Saturday at home when they beat Tennessee, 62-50. The Tide was without the services of a pair of suspended starters in JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell but reserves Moussa Gueye and Carl Engstrom stepped up against the Vols with a combined nine points, nine rebounds and six blocks. In the Tide's last outing, Andrew Steele had 10 points, a career-high seven assists and five steals as the Tide recorded a total of 15 thefts.

BJ YoungLockdown

The Alabama defense is 10th in the nation and second in the SEC in scoring (58.1 ppg). Only nine of UA's 26 opponents, including Arkansas, have even reached the 60-point mark in regulation this season and four have failed to score 50 points. The Crimson Tide is also eighth in the nation in field goal percentage (38.1) and third in 3-point shooting (27.3 percent).

Offensively, ‘Bama ranks near the bottom in most categories including scoring (65.4 points per game) and 3-point shooting (27.1 percent).

UA's bench has stepped up with the reserves averaging 28.2 points in the four games prior to the LSU game. In its last two games, UA's bench has held a 43-6 advantage and has outscored its opponent in each of the last seven games.

Fighting a slump

Arkansas (17-10 SU, 17-11-1 ATS) has lost four of its last five outings to drop to 5-7 in the SEC and has gone 2-4 since losing at Tuscaloosa in the first meeting between the two defensive minded squads.

For the Razorbacks to end their slide, they’ll need another big night from Freshman B.J. Young who is averaging 15.1 points. He’s had 22 games this season in which he’s scored in double figures. Mardracus Wade (10.4 points) is the only other Arkansas starter who is scoring in double figures.

Arkansas chances of a win and cover improved greatly with the suspensions of Green (14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds) and Mitchell (13.1 ppg, 7.0 rebounds). Green is out tonight and perhaps longer while Mitchell is done for the year because of what the school calls his pattern of disruptive behavior.

The Series

This will be the 54th meeting between the two schools. Arkansas leads the series 28-25 and is 10-5 in Fayetteville.

The two teams split last year’s series with each winning on its home floor. UA won the first meeting this season on its home and neither team has won on the other’s home court since January 27, 2007.

Numbers and Notes

Arkansas has been tough as nails at home going 17-2 SU (6-4-1 ATS). They’re averaging nearly five more points per game at Bud Walton’s place (77.2) than on the road (72.8) and the defense is slightly better at home (65.5 ppg) than on the road (68.7 ppg).

Alabama has a 3-5 road mark (7-5 ATS) but its home/road scoring splits are close. The Tide is scoring at a 64 ppg clip on the road and allowing 60.9. That compares favorably to their 65.4 to 58.1 offense/defense numbers in Tuscaloosa.

Harvey’s Take: This figures to be a half-court, grind it out affair. Neither team possesses a huge edge in any of the wagering statistics, so based mostly on home court advantage; I’m going to side with the Razorbacks tonight in what is a virtual pick but check in with Suarez's analysis of this game as well.

Good luck!