The Arkansas Razorbacks take on the LSU Tigers. Check out our college basketball odds series for our Arkansas LSU prediction and pick.

The Arkansas Razorbacks have a very clear and well-defined identity under coach Eric Musselman. That identity is simple: Arkansas wins games … but requires all 40 minutes to do so. Arkansas has become a very successful program in a short period of time under Musselman. The Hogs have reached the Elite Eight in each of the past two seasons, putting them in very select company. Arkansas is extremely successful and is maximizing its resources, which is not something most other college basketball programs can say for themselves. However, there is one flaw connected to the Hogs’ success, and it is simply that Arkansas regularly starts games slowly. Arkansas has fallen behind in the first half in a large number of its games this season. It was similarly the case last season. This is an Elite Eight-level program, and yet Arkansas probably has more games in which it trails by at least four or five points at some stage of the first half than other top-tier programs in the country. Against Oklahoma, against Troy, against a lot of different opponents on this season’s schedule, Arkansas has not played particularly well in the first 10 to 15 minutes of a game. However, Arkansas’ depth, aggressive defense, and energy on the boards regularly wear down opponents over the course of 40 minutes. If Arkansas struggles in the first 10 minutes of a game, the Razorbacks are excellent in the final 10 minutes. That’s why they’re so good. They’re one of the best finishing teams in college basketball.

Here are the Arkansas-LSU College Basketball odds, courtesy of FanDuel.

College Basketball Odds: Arkansas-LSU Odds

Arkansas Razorbacks: -4.5 (-105)

LSU Tigers: +4.5 (-115)

Over: 143.5 (-106)

Under: 143.5 (-114)

Why Arkansas Could Cover the Spread

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

The Hogs are, as noted above, really good at finishing games. They close the way one would expect of a top-flight college basketball program. LSU has talent under first-year head coach Matt McMahon, who previously coached and Murray State and succeeded previous LSU coach Will Wade. However, Arkansas has more crunch-time experience and a better track record in big games. LSU has notable upside as a team, but the Tigers have struggled this season against a number of their opponents. They have lost only once, but the Tigers have struggled with Wofford, winning by only three. They beat East Tennessee State by only four points. They beat Wake Forest by two after trailing by a sizable margin earlier in that contest.

Arkansas has played better competition, such as Creighton and San Diego State, and also has just one loss. Arkansas is a better team with a more proven coach. You don’t have to get more complicated in analyzing this game. The simple line of analysis is the best line of analysis.

Why LSU Could Cover the Spread

The Tigers’ success in close games gives them the confidence to go toe to toe with Arkansas in a 40-minute battle and not back down in crunch time. LSU has wobbled at times, but the ability to win so many close games this season should give the Tigers a level of resolve and clarity which will enable them to withstand the patented second-half Arkansas surge which is likely to come at some point in this contest. Matt McMahon did an outstanding job at Murray State. LSU will not be at a disadvantage in this game in terms of coaching, and the Bayou Bengals get this game at home.

Also keep in mind that Arkansas struggled in SEC play in the very early stages of the conference season one year ago. Arkansas ripened into an elite team when March came around, but this team does require some time to hit its stride. That should work in LSU’s favor.

Final Arkansas-LSU Prediction & Pick

Arkansas-LSU basketball games are regularly close. Arkansas might win outright, but LSU should be able to cover the spread.

Final Arkansas-LSU Prediction & Pick: LSU +4.5