Rivals Arkansas State and UALR match up for the first time this season today, matching up two of the premiere big men in the Sun Belt Conference.
So far this season, UALR’s Will Neighbour and Arkansas State’s Kirk Van Slyke have put up almost identical statistics. Tonight, they’ll likely see a bunch of each other as UALR travels to the Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark., to face Arkansas State.
Check out how close the numbers are for the two 6-10 post players.
Neighbour is averaging 18.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and has 17 blocks and 26 steals. He’s shooting 52 percent from the field, 39 percent from the three-point line and 76 percent from the free throw line.
Van Slyke, a transfer from Houston, is averaging 17.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and has 24 blocks and 13 steals. He shoots 57 percent from the field, 43 percent from the three-point line and 81 percent from the free throw line.
The difference? Neighbour has been to the free throw line 132 times this season to Van Slyke’s 77.
Expect to see a lot of both players. Neighbour averages 31.9 minutes while Van Slyke averages 31.8.
Statistics say these two probably cancel each other out.
The last time UALR faced Arkansas State guard Brandon Reed was the 2010 Sun Belt Tournament in Hot Springs. In what turned into an epic game, Arkansas State won 89-82 in overtime. Reed finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds that night. Reed averaged 15.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in his three meetings with UALR. He then bolted for Georgia Tech before returning this seson.
We don’t know any more about the status of UALR forward James White. He was injured on Jan. 2 at Texas State but was able to play in games against Texas-Arlington, South Alabama, Troy, Western Kentucky and Georgia State. Then he didn’t play Thursday against Texas State.
KING PRIAM’S KEYS
THREES IN THE THIRTIES: Arkansas State is a very good three-point shooting team. UALR struggles to defend the three-pointer. UALR needs to keep ASU’s trey percentage out of the 40s to have a shot.
ANSWER FOR WASHINGTON: If James White doesn’t play for UALR, who’s going to check Arkansas State’s Kendrick Washington? UALR has to have an answer for him on both ends of the court.
Js FOR JOSH: When Josh Hagins plays well, UALR plays well.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS?
Haven’t seen an updated line yet. But we expect Arkansas State will be a big favorite.