Losses happen. Losses on the road happen. Blowout losses even happen.

Losses happen. Losses on the road happen. Blowout losses even happen.


What never happens, or rather, should never happen, are blowout road losses to teams in the basement of the conference.


Never say never.


Arkansas had its worst performance of the season, perhaps the Mike Anderson era, in Tuesday night’s 78-46 loss to Mississippi State in Starkville. The 32-point margin was near the worst in Arkansas’ history in the Southeastern Conference. The Razorbacks lost in 2011 to Florida, 75-43; 32 points.


But that Florida team went to the Elite 8. Mississippi State wouldn’t make the Elite 8 in the 14-team SEC. The Bulldogs sat six games below .500 in league play, just a game up on a Missouri team Arkansas beat by 33 points a month ago. And they made Arkansas look like a last-place team.


Or Arkansas (12-12, 5-6 in SEC) made themselves look that way and Mississippi State simply took advantage.


Mississippi State (10-13, 3-8) didn’t do anything especially spectacular. The Bulldogs didn’t force Arkansas into a bunch of turnovers. They didn’t the paint or rebounding. What they did do is play the sort of pressure defense on shooters Anderson would have preferred his team play.


Arkansas shot 22 percent - 16 of 72 from the field - and made a single 3-pointer. Only two players shot better than 43 percent: Keaton Miles and Willy Kouassi, who each went 1 of 2.


Moses Kingsley was silent. Anthlon Bell was miserable. Dusty Hannahs was both. Arkansas went almost nine whole minutes with but one field goal in the first half. The Razorbacks last led when Hannahs hit a jumper at the 14:17 mark. Kingsley would make the next Arkansas bucket with 10:44 left. The next wouldn’t come until Jimmy Whitt made a jumper with 5:23 left.


Mississippi State had gone on a 22-2 run. Arkansas’ 10-9 lead turned into a 31-12 deficit. Not a single Arkansas player had more than four points at the break. The lead would ultimately grow to as many as 35 points for the Bulldogs, that coming with 2:52 left int he game.


Hannahs, Bell and Kingsley entered as the sixth, seventh and eighth leading scorers in the SEC. They averaged 49.9 points per game before Tuesday. The trio combined for 18 against Mississippi State.


It wasn’t just missing those three for Arkansas. Things were so bad, in fact, Arkansas did not manage a a stretch of consecutive possessions with a bucket the entire game. The end was no better than the beginning. Arkansas missed 16 of its last 19 shots.


The Bulldogs finished with three players in double figures, led by Gavin Ware’s 21 points. Whitt was the only Arkansas player to finish in double-digits scoring. He had 11 points.


Mississippi State’s win was the first against Arkansas in its last six games. The last time Mississippi State won against the Razorbacks was in 2012. Arkansas handled the Bulldogs, even, in January by 14 points.


But a February 2016 loss likely finishes any chance Arkansas has the postseason, as it would unlikely to accept an invitation to one of the lower-tier tournaments. The National Invitational Tournament remains a possibility, but will require a winning record and a resume that holds more impressive outcomes than loss to Mississippi State would provide.


Arkansas next plays the other Magnolia State school, Ole Miss, on Saturday in Oxford.


Follow Eric on Twitter: @ericwbolin