Seniors are struggling

Tennessee basketball team has dropped six of its last seven games, and two reasons for the skid are senior captains Brandon Crump and Scooter McFadgon.

Crump missed four of the past seven games with a sprained ankle and is still playing his way back into shape. McFadgon, meanwhile, has been mired in an awful shooting slump. Since head coach Buzz Peterson has no control over injuries and slumps, he's trying to focus on the things he CAN control -- his team's preparation and effort, for instance.

''Really, what I try to do is make sure these guys are giving me 100 percent effort every single time out,'' he said.

So, does he think he's getting 100 percent effort from his troops?

''I really do,'' he said, adding that he is ''getting a lot out of some guys'' in games but that ''we've made some mistakes here and there that might have cost us.''

That hasn't always been the case. Fans ripped the Vols after their lackluster effort in an 88-63 homefloor loss to Vanderbilt on Jan. 8. Tennessee's effort improved since then, however, even though the Vols continue to lose on a regular basis.

Despite the mounting losses, Peterson noted that ''The attitudes haven't been that bad.''

The coach then touched on a recurring theme ... lack of leadership.

''It disturbs me sometimes about the leadership,'' he said. ''I wish I had somebody that would get in somebody's face and challenge 'em, do something like that. We just don't have that. It really means a lot more when a player gets on another player, rather than a coach (having to do it).''

Peterson said several of his players are vocal at times ... just not the RIGHT times.

''A lot of guys run their mouth when we win, when things are going well,'' he said. ''But when it gets bad and we've lost a couple of games, that's when guys NEED to step up. It has to be somebody in a KEY spot.''

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