Very rarely does an outside school upset a Division 1 opponent. With that said, the College of the Ozarks is one of the top teams in NAIA Division 2; they rank in the top 25. However, this team lost its go to player Michael Bonaparte, who currently plays overseas in Ireland. Without their centerpiece, they will have a more balanced attack. Seniors Daniel Bandy and Chris Pullen will lead the charge. Tamas Rapp and Drew Ray add depth to the backcourt. Rounding out the backcourt is 6'6 guard Jared Howerton. His considerable height will cause matchup problems even for a division 1 team. After missing the vast majority of last season, 6'6, 220 pound forward Corey Stone returns to add support to their frontline. The College of the Ozarks currently has one of the biggest frontlines in the program's history. Stone provides muscle inside and sophomore forward Scott McElvain possesses the height necessary to defend stronger division 1 players. Therein, this Eagles squad should be a formidable matchup for a Division 1 squad that is still rebuilding.
On the other hand, Arkansas-Little Rock has a nice array of perimeter players. They are on relatively similar terms in regards to height because Little Rock predominantly relies upon their backcourt to carry the scoring load. Derrick Bails is the tallest player on the roster, standing at a mere 6'9. This is somewhat deceiving because Bails is only a freshman and may not play much in this contest. In the backcourt, ALRU retains rising star De'Andre Eggins, who averaged over 16ppg the final nine games of the season. But, the vast majority of the playing time will be given to the talented class of newcomers. JUCO transfer Shane Edwards and former Old Miss standout Brandon Patterson should play a major role in the Little Rock backcourt. Transfers John Fowler, and LaMarvon Jackson should also receive some playing time.
Comparatively speaking, ALRU may be more talented because of their impact transfers and returning talent. However, they do not possess the dominant size to overwhelm a lesser school such as College of the Ozarks. Instead, they are nearly on equal terms inside. College of the Ozarks's Corey Stone provides returning experience from a championship season and could play a major role in the paint. Also, at the guard slots, they have very experienced talent capable of exploiting ALRU weaknesses. This could be especially pertinent because the vast majority of the Little Rock offense are transfers who have not had the opportunity to coalesce into a cohesive unit. If College of the Ozarks can employ their considerable experience and take advantage of their comparable size inside, an upset is possible.