Jones, Arkansas host Valpo
Valparaiso (7-5) vs. Arkansas (9-1)
Verizon Arena, North Little Rock, Arkansas; Saturday, 8 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Two guards will be on display as Javon Freeman-Liberty and Valparaiso will go up against Mason Jones and Arkansas. The sophomore Freeman-Liberty has scored 28 percent of the team’s points this season and is averaging 19.6 over his last five games. Jones, a junior, is averaging 17.8 points over the last five games.
PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE: Senior leadership could play a big role in the outcome of this game. Jones, Jimmy Whitt Jr. and Adrio Bailey have collectively scored 52 percent of all Arkansas points this season. For Valparaiso, Freeman-Liberty, Nick Robinson and John Kiser have collectively scored 48 percent of the team’s points this season, including 57 percent of all Crusaders points over their last five.JUMPING FOR JAVON: Freeman-Liberty has connected on 35.1 percent of the 77 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 12 of 38 over his last five games. He’s also converted 72.2 percent of his foul shots this season.
PASSING FOR POINTS: The Crusaders have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Razorbacks. Arkansas has 39 assists on 84 field goals (46.4 percent) across its past three outings while Valparaiso has assists on 62 of 86 field goals (72.1 percent) during its past three games.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: The tough Arkansas defense has held opponents to 58.6 points per game, the 17th-lowest mark in Division I. Valparaiso has allowed an average of 73.6 points through 12 games (ranking the Crusaders 213th).