"Now we get to the part of the year when it is the conference tournament," Anderson said. "The winner is the automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament. All records are 0-0."
Ninth-seeded Arkansas (18-13, 6-10) opens the SEC Tournament Thursday at noon against eighth-seeded LSU (17-13, 7-9).
The two teams split the season series with each winning at home.
"Now is kind of the rubber match," Anderson said.
"It is an opportunity for us, it's an opportunity for LSU as well as the other teams in the SEC to get that automatic bid," Anderson said. "…In this tournament format, it's all about survive and advance."
Anderson, whose team lost a 15-point lead and a game to Ole Miss on Tuesday and then was hammered 79-59 at Mississippi State on Saturday, knows his team has to be ready mentally.
"I think at this stage of the season, I think the mental part is the biggest thing right now," Anderson said. "The mental toughness, the mental preparation, fighting through some adversity, which takes place throughout the season – you want to put those things aside and go out and play some good basketball."
Razorback junior guard Julysess Nobles is day-to-day with an ankle he injured on Saturday.
"He is still gimpy on that ankle," Anderson said.
Anderson noted that his team's defense – something that his squads have always prided themselves on – has been sorely lacking in the recent skid.
"Our defense is the thing that I have been most disappointed in – especially in conference," Anderson said. "You have got to be able to stop people. Certainly you have got to be able to score, but you have got to stop people."
The winner of Thursday's Arkansas-LSU game has the unenviable task of facing No. 1 Kentucky on Friday at noon.
"The first game is always the most important game," Anderson said. "Obviously you want your kids to come out and play with the right mindset and that is with a sense of urgency…This could be their last game. So when you say it is a one-game season, it truly is a one-game season."