FAYETTEVILLE – It’s hard to say what’s faster, pointing to the score of Arkansas’ January win over Mississippi State or Mike Anderson’s dismissal of it.

FAYETTEVILLE – It’s hard to say what’s faster, pointing to the score of Arkansas’ January win over Mississippi State or Mike Anderson’s dismissal of it.


The Razorbacks had no trouble with Mississippi State last month at Bud Walton Arena. Few teams have had difficulty with the Bulldogs. But Humphrey Coliseum isn’t the friendly confines for Arkansas. And a deeper look at January’s game shows, as Anderson points, Arkansas outdid its normal self.


"It’s a team that, since we played them, they’re playing a lot better," Anderson said. "We made shots against them in that game."


Make no mistake, Arkansas is the superior team. In a league where road teams are almost never favored by the oddsmakers, Arkansas is on Tuesday night in Starkville. Counting the Razorbacks to shoot another 50 percent from the floor, as they did in the first meeting, or can 16 3s again, would be folly.


Last year in Starkville, when Arkansas was a bit better than it is this season, Anderson’s team had to have that defense travel. It was an unattractive night at The Hump, as it’s known, as Arkansas shot 35 percent and made just 3 of 16 from beyond the arc. Twenty-three turnovers, however, keyed a four-point win.


Or take the season before. Both teams were struggling and Arkansas left with another four-point win, largely thanks to another victory in the turnover battle, and frankly, an awful night for the Bulldogs at the free throw line (10 of 21).


Another game like January’s, where Mississippi State committed fewer turnovers than Arkansas, would probably spell doom Tuesday night. And doom in that game might end the chance Arkansas has at any postseason, NIT included.


"Mississippi State is a much improved team," Anderson said. "We’ve got to do some things on the road we haven’t done since the Missouri game. … Ben Howland, he’ll have those guys ready to play."


Anderson’s words are fair warning, but a loss to Mississippi State would be devastating. Howland’s team is 13th out of 14 teams in the SEC in the standings race and in ratings-percentage-index ranking, or RPI. There the Bulldogs are 171st out of 347 teams in Division I. It is not a great spot.


Nor has the road been. For Arkansas, anyway.


The Razorbacks are winless in their last three games away from Fayetteville. Solace can be taken that the three losses came by a grand total of nine points, none by more than four ever, and one in overtime. Close losses, though, do not a resume build.


It is probably too much to think Arkansas can repeat its shooting performance from January, but a bigger game from Moses Kingsley would go a long way in duplicating the result. Kingsley, who is expected to return to the startling lineup after Anderson sat him for discipline issues Saturday against Tennessee, had 13 points and eight rebounds against Mississippi State the first time, but seven of those points came from the free throw line.


What won’t help is a repeat of the bench performance. The reserves scored just five points, all in the first half, that night. Part of the low total was because they weren’t needed considering Dusty Hannahs’ (26 points) and Anthlon Bell’s (25 points) nights.


But Anderson would like to see a repeat performance of Saturday more than the luck of last month.


"We’ve got to take our defense and hopefully our offense on the road as well," Anderson said. "Obviously we want to make shots, but let’s see if our defense travels with us."


Follow Eric on Twitter: @ericwbolin


Today’s Ticket


Arkansas (12-11, 5-5 in SEC) at Mississippi State (9-13, 2-8)


When: 8 p.m.


Where: Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi


TV: SEC Network


Radio: Razorback Sports Network


Line: Arkansas is favored by 2


Coaches: Arkansas - Mike Anderson (98-59 in fifth season); Ben Howland (9-13 in first season)


Projected lineups: Arkansas - G Jabril Durham (6-1, Sr., 6.3 ppg), G Anthlon Bell (6-3, Sr., 16.5 ppg), G Dusty Hannahs (6-3, Jr., 17. ppg), G Manny Watkins (6-3, Jr., 5.8 ppg), F Moses Kingsley (6-10, Jr., 16.4 ppg); Mississippi State - G Quinndary Weatherspoon (6-4, Fr., 10.7 ppg), G Craig Sword (6-3, Sr., 12.5 ppg), F Travis Daniels (6-7, Sr., 6.6 ppg), G Malik Newman (6-3, Fr., 13.1 ppg), F Gavin Ware (6-9, Sr., 16.2 ppg)