How to watch to Arkansas-Illinois, projected lineups, more


The Arkansas Razorbacks will look to kick off a third straight NCAA Tournament run with a victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini on Thursday afternoon inside Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Arkansas, which is the 8-seed, is less experienced than the 9-seed Illini as far as the postseason goes, but that’s not holding it back from having confidence.

“We are just trying to teach those (younger) guys and want them to know coming into this game, it’s going to be hard, we know that,” Davonte Davis said. “Nobody wants to go home. So we just want to come in and play as hard as we can and execute for sure. I think by saying that, if we do that, we can win. So the first game, just come in and play hard.”

Illinois is a long team that plays physical basketball and presents a tough matchup in the paint as the nation’s No. 2 team in blocks per game (5.7). The Illini also ranked No. 2 in the Big 10 and 29th in the country in rebounding this season.

“They do have great size, and when you look across the board they can block a shot at every position,” head coach Eric Musselman said. “That’s unique to play a team that 1-5 can alter shots and when you put together a roster with length, that’s one of the things that you want to do. That’s one of the advantages that you want to have is to try to make people shoot over the top of you.”

While the Illini have a pair of transfers in Terrence Shannon Jr. (Texas Tech) and Matthew Mayer (Baylor) that the Razorbacks have experience against in the NCAA Tournament, the Hogs have two star freshmen in Nick Smith Jr. and Anthony Black that can give Illinois fits.

“Nick is an outstanding scorer,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “He is a capable guy of getting 20 every night he steps on the court. And he can do it in a variety of ways. He can do it off catch-and-shoots, he can do it off the bounce, they’re going to put you in ball screens.

“And Anthony does it in so many different ways. He’s got the length, the size, downhill he can overpower you at the rim with that length. He’s got just uncanny quick hands and can bother you with steals on the defensive side. Again, he’s a 6’6, 6’7 point, so they have great size on the perimeter with those two.”

The winner of Thursday’s matchup will advance to the Round of 32 to face the winner of 1-seed Kansas and 16-seed Howard.

Here are details on how to watch/listen, notes, projected lineups, stats, odds and more for Thursday’s game between Arkansas and Illinois:


~ Arkansas earned its 36th NCAA bid and third straight.

~ It is the first time since 2006, ’07, and ’08 that the Hogs have played in three consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

~ Arkansas advanced to the NCAA Elite 8 in each of the last two years. In 2021, Arkansas lost In the Elite 8 to eventual national champion Baylor. In 2022, Arkansas upset #1 overall seed Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 before falling to Duke in the Elite 8.

~ The Razorbacks own a 48-34 all-time record in NCAA Tournament action.

~ This is the third time in program history Arkansas has received an 8 seed. Arkansas won its NCAA opener as an 8-seed in 2017 (vs Seton Hall). In 2006 as the 8-seed, Arkansas lost its opener to Bucknell.

~ Arkansas is 18-8 in NCAA Tournament first round games (including a loss in a “2nd round game” in 2015 when the “first four” were considered the 1st round).

~ Arkansas and Illinois have met on five previous occasions and the Illini have won all five. The first meeting (Dec. 14, 1949) was played in Champaign and the other four were played in “home” neutral sites (Little Rock for Arkansas and Chicago for Illinois) in a four-game “home-and-home” from 2001-2004.

~ Arkansas has never played in Des Moines. Arkansas has only played in the state of Iowa on two previous occasions, both coming in Ames versus Iowa State. First, Arkansas lost the Cyclones, 86-77, on Dec. 14, 1970 and then it lost at ISU, 95-77, in the 2015 SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

How to Watch/Listen

Who: 8-seed Arkansas Razorbacks (20-13) vs 9-seed Illinois Fighting Illini (20-12)

When: Thursday, March 16 at 3:30 p.m. CT

Where: Des Moines, Iowa – Wells Fargo Arena (16,110)

Television: TBS (Brian Anderson, Jim Jackson, Allie LaForce)


Radio: Learfield Razorback Sports Network (Chuck Barrett and Matt Zimmerman)

Gameday Info and How to Listen Online/Mobile: Razorback Gameday App

Sirius/XM National Broadcast: 136 (Sirius) / 206 (XM) || SXM App: Channel 967

Projected Lineups


#0 – G Anthony Black – Fr., 6’7″, 198 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 34.7 min, 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 steals, 3.2 turnovers, 0.6 blocks, 46.5 fg%, 31.0 3fg%

#3 – G Nick Smith Jr. – Fr., 6’5″, 185 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 26.4 min, 14.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.7 turnovers, 0.1 blocks, 39.1 fg%, 34.4 3fg%

#4 – G Davonte Davis – Jr., 6’4″, 185 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 33.4 min, 10.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals, 2.0 turnovers, 0.1 blocks, 41.2 fg%, 34.4 3fg%

#15 – F Makhi Mitchell – Sr., 6’9″, 230 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 20.3 min, 7.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.9 turnovers, 1.4 blocks, 66.7 fg%, 100 3fg%

#22 – F Makhel Mitchell – Sr., 6’10”, 240 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 14.1 min, 4.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.6 turnovers, 1.7 blocks, 63.5 fg%


#0 – G Terrence Shannon Jr. – Sr., 6’6″, 225 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 32.1 min, 17.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.6 turnovers, 0.5 blocks, 44.0 fg%, 32.7 3fg%

#15 – G RJ Melendez – So., 6’7″, 205 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 21.4 min, 5.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.0 turnovers, 0.5 blocks, 37.0 fg%, 25.3 3fg%

#24 – G/F Matthew Mayer – Gr., 6’9″, 225 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 26.7 min, 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.3 turnovers, 1.3 blocks, 41.4 fg%, 33.8 3fg%

#33 – F Coleman Hawkins – Jr., 6’10”, 225 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 32.4 min, 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.3 turnovers, 1.2 blocks, 44.4 fg%, 27.8 3fg%

#42 – F Dain Dainja – r-So., 6’9″, 270 lbs.

2022-23 Stats per game: 20.5 min, 9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.5 turnovers, 1.2 blocks, 63.7 fg%

Vegas odds:

Vegas: Arkansas is a 1.5-point favorite (BetSaracen)

ESPN: Arkansas has an 57.8% chance to win


(some information courtesy of Arkansas and Illinois Communications)