I shouldn’t even have to tell you how long Arkansas fans have been waiting for this one. For those that don’t know, Kentucky star Malik Monk, native to the state of Arkansas, was once a shoe-in to play for Arkansas this year. That is until his brother, Marcus, gave him a piece of advice that would break the hearts of Razorback Nation: If you want to go to the NBA, go to Kentucky. Ever since his commitment to UK, Monk was booed during the remainder of his high school games by not only the away crowd, but the home crowd as well. Tonight’s game will, without a doubt, have an interesting back story that transcends the game of basketball:
Payback and redemption.
I fully expect this game to be an absolute blowout in favor of Kentucky for several reasons. The first reason being the fact that the two most productive players on the Razorback roster, guards Dusty Hannahs (14.5 PPG, 1.3 APG) and Daryl Macon (14.0 PPG, 2.6 APG) are nowhere near Malik Monk (22.6 PPG, 2.0 APG), De’Aaron Fox (15.6 PPG, 6.8 APG), or Isaiah Briscoe (15.3 PPG, 4.4 APG) in terms of production or athleticism. With that in mind, also remember that Kentucky has the 10th highest strength of schedule, while Arkansas ranks in at a “cupcake-esque” 67th highest strength of schedule, according to ESPN. Beating North Carolina by three means more than beating UT-Irvine by four (Ah, the beauty of considering S.O.S.). So if the Kentucky guards can blow the Arkansas guards out of the water in terms of production, while playing the likes of UNC, Louisville and Michigan State, I believe that Kentucky will have absolutely no problem taking care of business at home tonight.
Don’t get me wrong; I like Arkansas. I like Head Coach Mike Anderson and how he has made Arkansas a dangerous team for the past three seasons. Hell, I even like possum pie! What I don’t like, however, is a kid getting booed by his own home crowd during his last year of high school basketball because he decided to go with to a school that has a demonstrated track record of sending players to the NBA.
If you ask me, I hope Malik scores 50 tonight.