It was a fun four days for Razorback fans to think the basketball program might have turned the corner with the victory over Florida Tuesday night. But, alas, those happy feelings are gone after yet another beyond-lackluster performance on the road.
Let's be clear: Arkansas can beat Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Harlem Globetrotters at home, but until they are able to beat mediore-to-bad teams like Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Texas A&M on the road, those great home wins are meaningless.
This program cannot progress further without road victories. They've proven this year, as they did last year, they are capable of playing with any team in the country at Bud Walton Arena, and that there isn't a team in the country you'd feel comfortable giving the Hogs a chance to beat on the road.
Arkansas isn't able to fill up Bud Walton for teams like Florida because fans don't feel progress being made. That progress can only be made by winning on the road. Period. Arkansas can win out at home every year, but that won't be enough to get in the NCAA Tournament. This is what we meant last week by holding serve. Winning at home is holding serve. Winning on the road is breaking serve. No matter how spectacular your service game is, if you can't break anyone else's serve, you are not winning the match.
And it's not just losing on the road. It's not playing well and losing tough games. It's getting blown out. It's failing to score 50 points against Vanderbilt. It's only breaking 60 points on the road one time in SEC play. They struggle to score 30 points in a half on the road, yet the program still refers to itself as "The Fastest 40 Minutes In Basketball" with a straight face.
It's great to be fast, but if you can't be smart while you're being fast, you're just exacerbating your weaknesses by increasing the amount of possessions in each game. Like a long-driving golfer whose errant tee shots make bad shots worse because they go farther away from the fairway. If you're in trouble because Marshawn Powell is in foul trouble and BJ Young can't get it going, this team is basically doomed if they can't slow it down and minimize possessions. Only Kikko Haydar and Mardracus Wade made more than 2 field goals for Arkansas. That's it. And the Razorbacks took 10 more shots than the Commodores.
This is all so stupid. And Arkansas' next game is also on the road, against Auburn. We'll still watch and really hope Arkansas wins, but even though Auburn is the one place Arkansas won on the road last year, we'd be lying if we said we felt any confidence. Good luck.