FAYETTEVILLE — Michael Qualls had an interesting way of describing Arkansas’ demeanor after its success continued against Georgia last Saturday.

FAYETTEVILLE — Michael Qualls had an interesting way of describing Arkansas’ demeanor after its success continued against Georgia last Saturday.

"We feel cool," the sophomore said minutes after the 87-75 win capped an important week that began with the upset at Kentucky. "Everything’s cool."

Everything is, indeed, cool for the red hot Razorbacks, who have been in a groove since the 2-6 start to open SEC play. Arkansas (20-9, 9-7 in SEC) has won seven of its past eight games and, despite the early struggles, has worked into the NCAA Tournament picture as the regular season’s final week begins.

Arkansas will close the 18-game SEC schedule with its final home game against Ole Miss (17-12, 8-8) on Wednesday night, then a road trip to Alabama (12-17, 6-10) on Saturday. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson is confident his team — which has climbed up to No. 58 in the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index — can handle each test because of the way they’re performing as a unit down the stretch.

"We’re playing some of our better basketball at the right time and I think that’s big this time of the year," said Anderson, who is trying to guide Arkansas into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. "That’s huge this time of the year. We’ve improved upon what we did last year, won 20 games already with a lot of games left.

"There’s a lot of stuff out there. So that’s what I want them to embrace."

Anderson said the Razorbacks have done a good job of it the past few weeks.

The hard part came when Arkansas was dangling near the bottom of the SEC standings after its loss at LSU on Feb. 1. Qualls and Alandise Harris were suspended for the game because of conduct detrimental to the team. The two were reinstated afterward and the Razorbacks began to grind through the conference schedule.

Arkansas guard Kikko Haydar said the Razorbacks refused to be overwhelmed by the poor start, believing there was still time to crawl back. So he said Arkansas kept "pounding, working" and hoping things would turn in the right direction.

The Razorbacks knew they had enough talent and depth to accomplish it, too.

"It’s a winning locker room," Anderson said. "You can tell just in the locker room. They’re going out there expecting to win. And I think that’s kind of been the mindset all year long, although we’ve had some games where we just didn’t finish. You could just see that whenever adversity takes place, they don’t get rattled."

Qualls and Harris have improved their level of play since returning, helping to lead Arkansas’ resurgence. Clarke — who was named SEC Player of the Week on Monday — has played a key role as well. There have been plenty of contributions from other unlikely sources, too, throughout the run of success.

Guard Mardracus Wade, who had trouble getting off of Arkansas’ bench, has enjoyed a revival, spearheading the Razorbacks’ defensive efforts over the win streak.

Guard Anthlon Bell emerged from a two-month slump to score a career-high 19 points in the win at Mississippi State. Guard Rickey Scott, who had barely contributed in SEC play, scored five points during the Georgia win.

"We built tremendous depth," Clarke said. "A lot of teams can’t scout us defensively or offensively because they don’t know what we are doing. We’ve got 10 starters basically, and we switch our minutes and anyone can come in and give you anything — double figures scoring, double figures rebounds. It doesn’t matter."

Haydar said it’s becoming clear every player understands his responsibilities.

"We’re a very close team," Haydar said. "One of the things that’s really helped us, people don’t really care about their stats, who scores and all of that. We are just trying to win basketball games. That’s how you win."

Anderson said he has helped, too, by locking in on a starting five.

Clarke, Qualls, Bobby Portis, Ky Madden and Fred Gulley have been starters during the five-game win streak. They’ve helped Arkansas get off to good starts throughout the successful stretch. But he has continually credited the bench play the past few weeks, saying it’s a sign Arkansas is getting unselfish play throughout its roster.

"A team is made up of a lot of different parts. And so, as you’re putting those parts together, it just doesn’t mesh all of a sudden," Anderson said.

"Experience is the greatest teacher and I feel these guys have kind of embraced that. And then they started trusting one another. They really started trusting one another. Our bench has really developed. I’m finally settling in on a starting unit. So that’s kind of important. So they know what their roles are for this basketball team."

Anderson said players have taken "ownership" as well, using the Mississippi State win as an example. The Razorbacks didn’t play their best against the SEC’s last-place team, but let their coach know "we got this" in squeezing out their third road win.

Anderson — who rarely mentions the NCAA Tournament — said the Razorbacks will be "where we need to be" if it continues the next two weeks.

"When you’ve got leadership taking place and the ownership, then all you’ve got to do is stay out of the way," Anderson said. "So I hope I don’t screw it up."