Cocks tough on Buzz

If Tennessee's head basketball coach is less than excited about Saturday's visit to South Carolina, it's understandable.

Buzz Peterson's record against the Gamecocks is a paltry 1-3, and the losses have been of the blowout variety. His first look at South Carolina came on the short end of a 94-60 debacle at Thompson-Boling Arena in January of 2002. That remains Buzz' worst homefloor setback as Vol skipper, and it was his worst overall setback until last weekend's 95-57 humiliation at Florida.

Peterson slipped to 0-2 against the Gamecocks in February of 2002, thanks to a 72-54 spanking at Columbia.

Although Carolina slumped in 2002-03 -- finishing 12-16 overall and 5-11 in SEC play -- the Gamecocks still gave Buzz fits. Tennessee edged Dave Odom's crew 60-56 in Knoxville last January but suffered another disappointing defeat in the rematch at Columbia, bowing 77-63.

The Gamecocks may be the SEC's most improved team in 2003-04. They stand 15-2, already eclipsing last year's win total by three. Peterson says Carolina will be a tough test for his team.

''South Carolina amazes me with its quickness and good movement,'' he said. ''It's a much improved team, a surprise team in many respects. They've got 15 wins already, obviously a much better ball club.''

Meanwhile, Tennessee (10-2 overall and 2-1 in league play) is a mystery team. The Vols were good enough to beat Georgia and Vanderbilt in Knoxville but they have been miserable on the road -- losing 77-62 at Nebraska, rallying for a 74-66 win at UMass, then suffering the annihilation at Florida.

Tipoff for Saturday's game is 5 p.m., with Fox SportsNet providing TV coverage.


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