Buzz bombs (0-5) vs. Bama

He thumped Alabama for the 2001 NIT title in his final game as Tulsa's head coach, but Buzz Peterson hasn't beaten the Tide since. In three-plus years as Tennessee's head man, he stands 0-5 against Bama -- most of the losses coming by lopsided margins. He'll try to reverse that trend Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena (8 p.m. tipoff).

Peterson lost 95-82 at Tuscaloosa in 2002, then fell 91-72 in the SEC Tournament later that same year. He bowed 76-71 at Knoxville in 2003, enabling Bama to earn an NCAA Tournament bid that appeared reserved for Tennessee. Peterson then dropped two more meetings in 2004 -- 83-70 at Tuscaloosa and 84-49 in the SEC Tournament.

That most recent loss was so embarrassing that Peterson has taped an enlargement of the box score on his team's locker room wall.

''It's blown up about as big as I can blow it up,'' the coach said.

For those keeping score at home, the average margin in Peterson's five losses to the Tide was 17 points. That shows Alabama has been dominant, especially since two of the meetings were on neutral floors in Atlanta and one was on the Vols' home floor in Knoxville.

The question is: Why has Alabama proved to be such a tough matchup for Tennessee?

''That's the only team I haven't beaten in the four years I've been here,'' Peterson noted during Monday's weekly news conference. ''They've a very good basketball club. Last year (in the regular-season meeting) Earnest Shelton got hot (27 points) and they fed off that. Two years before, Rod Grizzard got hot down there in the tournament.

''We haven't had much luck with them. Two years ago here, we had chances but just dildn't convert down the stretch.''

Alabama annually features some of the quickest, most agile athletes in the SEC, and the Tide's athleticism has caused problems for Tennessee in their recent matchups.

''They're so good one on one,'' Peterson conceded, adding that the 2003-04 Tide was ''one win from reaching the Final Four.''

Bama, ranked No. 11 nationally, carries a 17-4 overall record and a 6-2 SEC record into Wednesday's game. Tennessee, coming off a 77-55 blitz of LSU, is 11-11 and 4-5.

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