Take a few deep breaths. Grab your stress ball and squeeze it a few times if you need to. But most importantly, Arkansas basketball fans, R-E-L-A-X. Please.
Yes, I'm taking a page out of the Aaron Rodgers playbook. I felt the need to say that, which I find to be a bit absurd considering Arkansas is 13-3 overall and 2-1 in the SEC with a really good road win at Georgia to open league play.
But Tuesday night, Arkansas traveled to Knoxville, a place the Vols historically win at a 75 percent clip, and lost 74-69. And if you were on Twitter like most of us, you would have thought the sky was falling and Arkansas was on the bubble for the CBI.
Sports talk radio show callers and negative Arkansas basketball Twitter fans were beside themselves, saying the same old stuff that's been said for the last few years. It's getting really old, and I'm tired of it. It's time to relax, Arkansas fans. Here's why:
Again, Arkansas is 13-3 and 2-1 in league play with a nice road win over one of the teams it will be competing with for the No. 2 spot in the SEC. Tennessee is also not a bad loss, you guys. The Vols are good at home (beat No. 15 Butler by double digits this season) and their RPI is 52, which is pretty good. Arkansas' RPI, which many of you thought would take a major hit, is right back where it was before the loss thanks to the outcomes of other games.
Here's are some more facts: Arkansas is one of five teams in the nation with three wins over RPI Top 25 teams, according to Razorback SID Patrick Pierson, and two of them are on the road. Technically, the best win this team has is a road win over SMU, whose RPI is 18. The Razorbacks have five wins over RPI Top 100 teams.
Now, I'm going to plead with some of the negative Twitter fans to stop overreacting to every little thing when Arkansas plays. Some of the things being griped about are just so incredibly petty. Just save it. And stop tweeting the players and telling them how bad they're playing. It does zero good and accomplishes nothing.
There's also something people must understand, and it's that no matter how good Arkansas may become, road losses will happen. Bad nights are inevitable in basketball. That's just the nature of the sport.
One of my biggest gripes about the negative portion of the fan base is the constant reverting back to the "Arkansas/Mike Anderson are incapable of winning on the road" narrative when it's just not true anymore. If I'm not mistaken, Arkansas won at Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Kentucky last year and have already won at SMU and Georgia this year. In their last 10 road games, the Razorbacks are 5-5.
The Razorbacks have played five true road games this season, and have had a chance to win all but one (Iowa State). The loss at Clemson was a fluke. Losing a six-point lead in a minute has never happened under Anderson's watch, and as bad as some think the guard play is, you would think it would happen more often, but it doesn't. I'd take Arkansas at Clemson tomorrow if they played. Tennessee on Tuesday can be tallied as a bad night, but the defense kept Arkansas in it and had a chance to tie the game late. If you can't see how improved this team is on the road, I can't help you.
Now, Saturday, Ole Miss comes in to Bud Walton Arena looking for an upset. The Rebels will not be intimidated by the crowd (see SEC opener at Kentucky), but I expect Arkansas to win and begin a new win streak. Three of the next four games are at home with the one road game in Columbia against a struggling Missouri team. After Missouri, the Hogs face a tough challenge at Florida then return home and host South Carolina and Mississippi State.
By my calculations, Arkansas could potentially start 8-2 or 9-1 in SEC play by just winning the games they're supposed to. The Razorbacks have a chance to start league play off in a very positive way, compared to last season's 4-7 start.
My message is simple: just relax. Now I'm not calling out a part of the fan base; I'm simply asking to soak in the facts, stop being so negative and to support the best Razorback basketball team in the last 10 years. Don't let the three losses outweigh the 13 wins.