Lebo Still "Under the Weather"

Auburn, Ala.--Jeff Lebo, who was unable to coach on Saturday night at Arkansas, says he expects to be back on the bench on Wednesday night when his basketball team travels to Knoxville to face the Tennessee Volunteers.

However, Lebo, who is still suffering from flu-like symptoms, said on Monday that he is not ready to return to practice.

"I am still under the weather," he noted. "I spent yesterday in bed. I watched a little film. I probably won't go in with the team today (Monday). I will probably be ready to go in tomorrow. I don't want anybody else to get sick."

Arkansas pulled away from Auburn in the second half on Saturday in Fayetteville and took an 84-64 victory as assistant coach John Cooper directed the team. Lebo was at Bud Walton Arena, but couldn't coach.

"I was laying in the back of the training room with the door shut, the lights off and sweating," he said. "The only thing I really got was a halftime score and a score at the end of the game."

In his first year as a head coach at Tennessee Tech, Lebo became ill and was hospitalized on a road trip after he got severely dehydrated.

"It is hard," he says of missing a game. "You want to be a part of it with the players during the games. It is a difficult thing."

Lebo has been fighting a bug that has caused a fever, aches and pains all over his body and chills.

If that is not enough to worry about, Wednesday night's game is against the hottest team in the SEC, the 18-3 Tennessee Volunteers. Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. CST in Knoxville.

"Tennessee is playing great, and they are undefeated at home," the Auburn coach says. "I think they are the only (SEC) team that hasn't lost at home this year. I think it will be very tough for us."

Coach Jeff Lebo's Tigers will be on the road for the fourth time in the last five games when they travel to Tennessee.

Lebo is particularly impressed with UT's Chris Lofton, who is leading the Vols in scoring at 17.2 points per game while hitting 45.4 percent of his threes, including 16 of his last 22 attempts. He is also hitting 92.5 percent of his foul shots.

"He is the J.J. Reddick of our league," Lebo says. "He can flat out score the ball."

Lebo's Tigers dropped to 10-11 overall and 2-8 in the SEC at Arkansas. UT is a surprising 9-1 in the SEC.

As the Tigers hit the stretch run, Lebo says his freshmen have have improved as a group since the start of the season, but don't always show it.

"At times they are and at times they are not," the coach said. "We have trouble scoring the basketball at times and executing at different times. This time of year you would like for them to be making a step up.

"The problem is that we have so many on the court they are not used to playing this many minutes. In high school they could take possessions off, they could take games off because they weren't pushed every time. It is kind of Catch 22 with them. It is not like you have one out there with a bunch of veterans who can absorb the mistakes the freshmen make. We have four or five out there at one time so you never know really what you are going to get.

"At times we have played well. We have played halves well," Lebo added. "We have played 30 minutes well here and there, but we haven't all played great at one time. We need for that to happen soon."

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