Mum's the word for Buzz

Shot selection is a key for Tennessee's players as they prepare for this week's SEC Basketball Tournament. Similarly, word selection is a key for Tennessee's coach.

Buzz Peterson has learned the hard way that a slip of the tongue can be costly at tournament time.

''Our first year (2002), we beat Arkansas, then lost to Alabama when (Rod) Grizzard got real hot,'' the Vol coach recalled. ''I made the stupid comment that he hadn't hit a 3 in about a month, and he hit about four - maybe five - in the first half.

''I'm trying not to make that mistake again.''

As fate would have it, Alabama will be Tennessee's opponent Thursday night in Round 1 of this year's SEC Tourney. The Tide (16-11) beat the Vols (15-12) by an 83-70 score Feb. 14 in the regular-season meeting at Tuscaloosa, improving to 4-0 vs. UT since Peterson took the reins.

''Alabama's a team that beat us earlier, and we haven't done real well against them the last three years,'' Peterson conceded. ''I want to make sure we do the job, that we're prepared and ready to beat 'em.''

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