When you look at the Arkansas' basketball schedule, the point could certainly be made that this is one – if not the – toughest weeks of the season.
Not only do you have two road trip, but both are against SEC Eastern Division teams in South Carolina (11-5, 2-1) and Florida (13-4, 2-1).
"It is quite possible that you can say that," Razorback head coach John Pelphrey said. "It is our two farthest points – I believe – to travel so it is an important stretch. It would be great to go out here and perform well."
While that is something Arkansas (12-4, 2-1) has done at home with an 11-0 mark, it certainly has not been that way on the road.
The Razorbacks are 1-4 away from home,
taking then No. 25 and current No. 10 Texas A&M and UAB to overtime before losing and beating Seton Hall in games in Dallas, North Little Rock and Louisville, respectively.
They are 0-2 in true road games with a blowout loss at Texas and a disappointing one to a mediocre LSU squad.
"Our basketball team needs to grow up and perform better out there and we all understand that," Pelphrey said. "That is what we are working towards."
Arkansas junior guard Rotnei Clarke said Monday that the Razorbacks – whose first three losses were to teams that are now a combined 42-8 - have not lost confidence despite the disappointing efforts away from home.
"We are still confident going on the road even though we have lost some tough games," Clarke said. "We've looked at film and we know what it takes to win on the road. I think we can get prepared and be ready."
Sophomore guard Julysess Nobles says the past is the past.
"You put those games behind you," Nobles said. "You don't look at the last game, you look at the next one. We know we shot bad on the road before and we are just coming to get better and try to be South Carolina on the road."
Albeit 14-62 in the last nine-plus seasons on the road, Arkansas did have some success last season with consecutive wins at Ole Miss and Georgia.
The Razorbacks also had competitive efforts at Mississippi State and at Alabama – two losses by a combined seven points.
"We know it is definitely tough to win on the road, but we also know anyone can beat anyone at any given time," Clarke said. "…We've done it before. We did it last year – two games in a row in the SEC. We have the confidence to do it. We just need to go down there and make it happen, be well-prepared and focused."
In the two true road losses, Arkansas has had horrible starts and Pelphrey noted that getting off to good ones instead would certainly help the cause.
"I think it is very important on the road," Pelphrey said. "You would like to do it every single time no matter where you are playing, but if you can get out there on the road and kind of get in control of the game, it may make things a little bit easier, potentially put the crowd back in its seats a little bit and keep the pressure on the home team a little bit.
"But we also understand that it is a game of runs and no matter if you start well, you want to finish well," Pelphrey added. "We would love to get off to a great start both offensively and defensively."
Not likely to play for Arkansas Wednesday is senior swingman Jemal Farmer, who was not on the bench Saturday and did not practice on Monday.
But Arkansas could have freshman guard Rickey Scott back after missing seven games with a stress fracture. He dressed out Saturday, but did not play.
"I think it is a good possibility," Pelphrey said. "We are looking forward to a couple of days work with him here and I am sure he is excited as well."
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