Vols get up for Rupp

Since Kentucky's basketball team is ranked No. 9 nationally and Tennessee is 0-6 in SEC road games, you'd figure the Vols will get killed Wednesday night in Lexington.

Well ... recent history suggests otherwise. Although UT head man Buzz Peterson is winless in two previous trips to Rupp Arena, his team acquitted itself well each time.

The Vols shot a season-high 58.7 percent from the field at Lexington last year, giving the No. 2 ranked Wildcats some anxious moments before bowing 80-68. One year earlier, Tennessee gave Kentucky an even bigger scare, pushing the Big Blue to the limit before falling 64-61.

''The two years I've been here, we've played pretty well up there,'' Peterson noted. ''We haven't won but we've stayed with the gameplan and played fairly well.''

Possible explanation: Rupp Arena brings out the best in Tennessee's players.

''Our guys get fired up to go to Rupp,'' Peterson said. ''They know there's a lot of history in that building, and they want to do well. I know they're looking forward to the opportunity.''

Although the Vols are 11-1 when they score 70 or more points and only 2-9 when they don't, a low-scoring, slow-tempo game may be to Tennessee's advantage. By keeping the pace deliberate the past two years, UT kept Kentucky's fanatical fans from becoming too much of a force.

''We've got to have a gameplan like that again,'' Peterson said. ''We've got to have patience, we've got to take the shot we want.''

Inside Tennessee Top Stories