Arkansas has to "release" on a trip to Knoxville in hopes of snapping out of the SEC road blues, starting with junior forward Alandise Harris.
That was the message UA head coach Mike Anderson delivered at his media briefing on Tuesday ahead of the trip to play Tennessee. The Hogs are 2-20 in true road games under Mike Anderson. Both those wins were at Auburn.
Game time at Thompson-Boling Arena is at 7 p.m. Wednesday between the Hogs (12-5, 1-3) and Vols (11-6, 2-2).
Arkansas enters Wednesday's SEC road test at Tennessee having played three straight overtime games for the first time in program history. Holding a lead with under five minutes to play in all three games, the Razorbacks are just minutes away from being 3-1 in the SEC against a slate that is 13-3 thus far.
"We just have to go play," Anderson said. "We have to learn how to finish. We are real close, closer than you think. Don't panic."
Rebounding is going to be a big key, Anderson acknowledged. Out-rebounded by 56-34 in an overtime loss at Georgia, the Hogs are facing the SEC's top rebounding club in UT. The Vols are plus 12.5. The Hogs are minus 10.8.
"We've got to meet somewhere in the middle (between those two stats)," Anderson said. "Every game is different, but we hope to get the mindset to go rebound.
"Tennessee has some big bodies, some wide bodies. They push you under the goal, pin you. We can't let that happen.
"If we shore up the rebounding (at Georgia), that game is not close."
Anderson may change the lineup with some "blue collar guys" playing more, including 6-8 Jacorey Williams and 6-10 Moses Kingsley getting more time.
"You'll see Moses on the court," Anderson said. "You'll see more blue collar guys. We were disappointed (in the play at Georgia). We have to see blue collar play. Jacorey is going to play more. We need his energy."
With some getting more time, perhaps others will get less. Anderson said he had issued a challenge to junior forward Alandise Harris, with just four defensive rebounds in four SEC games.
"He's not been up to his capabilities with 2.5 rebounds in SEC games," Anderson said. "I have talked to him and I'm going to challenge him again just before practice today. He has been hesitant. He's a physical specimen. We have to get that out of him. Maybe a year off he needed to get acclimated to SEC (play).
"We've gotten consistent (effort) from Fred Gulley, Ky Madden and Coty Clarke. Bobby Portis has played well at home, but not away. That's a freshman. We've got to get other guys getting after it.
"My challenge to Alandise is to release it, go play basketball."
Arkansas will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak on the road and a three-game streak in Knoxville. The Razorbacks rank 14th in the nation in scoring offense (83.3) and haven't been held below 70 points in back-to-back games over their last 21 outings.
Led by third-year head coach Cuonzo Martin, the Volunteers are 8-2 at Thompson-Boling Arena, holding all 10 home opponents to under 70 points. UT leads the SEC in scoring defense (62.0) and rebound margin ( plus 12.5) in league play.
Led by the frontcourt duo of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon's 7.9 offensive caroms per game, the Volunteers rank eighth in the nation in offensive rebounds (14.7).
Tennessee has allowed just three opponents to score 70 points this season, resulting in an 0-3 record, while its also only lost the battle on the boards three times (0-3). Senior Jordan McRae ranks sixth in the SEC in scoring at 18.4 points per game, going for 20+ points seven times.
"Stokes is a physical guy, a wide body," Anderson said. "They have some veteran guys like Jeronne Maymon, a fifth year guy. They want the game to be a grind.
"Their strength is something we didn't do very well in our last game. Stokes (with 15 rebounds against Kentucky) is a player with good basketball IQ, great ability to pin you and then he goes to get it with two hands. We can't let him pin us. He's very physical.
"I know our guys are disappointed. We were in position to win our last game and we settled at the end of regulation and went to overtime. Georgia was the recipient of a game we had control of.
"We are that close to winning. Now we have to just go make a play down the stretch."
Anderson: Don't Panic
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