Getting Back To Positive Thinking

Arkansas (12-5, 1-2) tries to get back on the winning track tonight when it opens a two-game home stand by hosting Georgia (10-5, 2-1) in an 8:05 p.m. game that will be televised by ESPNU before taking on LSU on Saturday afternoon in a CBS game.

FAYETTEVILLE -- One after another, the text messages kept popping up on Vincent Hunter's cellular phone.

They started about a week ago, before Arkansas traveled to Oxford, Miss. They haven't stopped, even after the Razorbacks' devastating 74-72 loss on Saturday. Hunter has Ole Miss guard Bam Doyne to thank -- or not thank -- for the persistent messages.

The two grew up together in Little Rock, eventually playing on the same AAU team, and Doyne hasn't let Hunter forget Saturday's defeat.

Unfortunately, that's all Hunter and the rest of the Razorbacks want to do, especially with a talented Georgia team coming to Bud Walton Arena tonight.

"It's so hard to get a loss like that out of your mind, and (Bam's) not helping at all," Hunter said. "I couldn't sleep at all Saturday night."

None of the Razorbacks said they got to a full night's rest after returning on a silent flight Saturday. They couldn't even dose off on the plane.

Most of them just stared into space, reliving every second.

"It was a rough, rough night," Sonny Weems said. "Too many people on the plane weren't talking. I just think our team got the 'Big Head' a little bit. It's just a mind thing. We can't do that. We've got to stay level-headed."

Saturday's loss surely humbled the Razorbacks, who preceded the defeat with a blowout victory over Alabama and a respectable loss at Florida.

Center Steven Hill said beating Georgia tonight is the only way to regain the eroded confidence. On Saturday night and Sunday, Hill did something he only does after losses. He banned himself from any type of college basketball news.

"The easiest way to get over a loss is to not pay attention to anything the next day, media-wise," Hill said. "And that includes ESPN."

The television was on Sunday at Gary Ervin's apartment, but Arkansas' point guard didn't watch any college basketball. Just the NFL playoffs as he played with his daughter, Neve'a.

Still, even he couldn't escape thoughts of what seemed to be a nightmare in Tad Smith Coliseum. His teammates wouldn't let him.

"Once I got home, I just tried to relax, lay back and forget about it," Ervin said. "But some of the guys kept calling me and saying, 'How did we lose this game?' I just told them that we let one slip away. You have learn from it, and now we need to take a big game (tonight) against Georgia."

Arkansas coach Stan Heath couldn't do anything to cheer himself up. He just popped in the game tape and tried to gain as much knowledge from the loss as he could.

Mostly he wanted to formulate a way for his players to discard the negative thoughts from Saturday, something they admittedly had trouble doing on their own.

"The next step for our team is to totally eliminate the taste that we just had," Heath said. "Because there's no sense in just having a hangover day after day after day."

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