Arkansas suffered another road loss Saturday at Georgia. They have now lost both of their SEC road games this season.
Fans have every right to be disappointed. Arkansas basketball is never going to be good until they can learn to win on the road because good teams know how to win on the road.
It’s not like Arkansas is playing teams that they can’t compete with. When Arkansas plays at Bud Walton Arena they prove that they can compete with any team in the nation but as soon as they go on the road, all confidence is lost.
Of course, winning on the road isn’t as easy as winning at home for any team, but Arkansas is making it a lot harder than it should be.
The question everyone wants to know is: why can’t they win on the road? Well, there isn’t an exact answer but there are definitely some factors that aren’t helping their cause.
The Razorbacks, under Mike Anderson, have only won two SEC road games (both at Auburn). Some fans think this is all Anderson’s fault, but don’t blame it solely on him.
Since Nolan Richardson left in 2002, Arkansas has gone 15-76 in SEC road games, including their two losses this season. In fact, the last time Arkansas had a winning record on the road was the 1994-95 season.
This is just something that the Arkansas basketball program has struggled with for awhile, no matter who’s the coach.
It seems as though when Arkansas goes on the road, they are already defeated before they step on the court. It’s almost like they accept the fact that they are going to lose on the road because it’s something that’s been happening within the program forever.
Arkansas doesn’t have a winning mentality when they go on the road and it shows.
In their first two SEC road games this season Arkansas is averaging only 57 points per game and shooting only 34 percent from the field versus their first two SEC home games where they are averaging 84.5 points and shooting 37.6 percent.
When Arkansas plays at home, they set the tempo of the game. They start out the game playing the up-tempo with lots of energy. When Arkansas plays on the road, they let opponents set the pace for the game.
A team’s main goal, when playing Arkansas, is to take them out of their fast-pace game by slowing the ball up and making Arkansas set up in a half-court offense. On the road, Arkansas allows this to happen and they can’t.
At home, the crowd factors in to the game. Arkansas really feeds of the crowd’s energy in Bud Walton Arena, which is a good thing but they also need to learn to feed off of each other’s energy. On the road, Arkansas isn’t going to have the crowd’s energy to feed off of so they need to learn to feed off each other’s energy.
Arkansas needs someone to step up and take control of road games; someone with a winning attitude that won’t accept losing on the road. If one person steps up, the team will follow along. This hasn’t happened yet, no one has stepped up to lead the team during road games.
Until Arkansas starts showing a winning mentality on the road, expect them to lose every road SEC game this season (especially since they don’t play at Auburn).
The Hogs have a chance to redeem themselves as they travel to Knoxville on Wednesday to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a very winnable game.
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