Will Scooter help?

He's Tennessee's leading scorer. He's a senior, he's a captain and he's back in action after missing four games with a knee injury. The question is: How much can Scooter McFagdon help the Vols in this week's SEC Tournament?

McFadgon played 23 minutes in Saturday night's 78-68 defeat of Georgia in the regular-season finale. He hit 4 of 9 field goal tries, scored 12 points and committed two turnovers.

''I think he did fine,'' head coach Buzz Peterson said. ''I think they all (teammates) wanted him back out there and were looking forward to it.''

After missing two weeks of practice and four games, however, McFadgon is somewhat out of shape. That could be a problem in Thursday night's SEC opener against an athletic Arkansas team that likes to maintain a fast-pace.

''Scooter got winded (vs. Georgia) pretty fast,'' Peterson conceded. ''There were times I had to get him out of there, so he stayed fresh. Him being a senior, I wanted to get him a lot of minutes in his final home game.''

The Vol coach hopes to get McFadgon plenty of cardio-vascular work in practice this week in an effort to upgrade his stamina.

With McFadgon available, the Vols have another perimeter scorer to pair with freshman sharpshooter Chris Lofton. That could be significant against Arkansas. Lofton scored a career-high 30 points against the Razorbacks Feb. 26 in Fayetteville, so McFadgon may have to hit a few shots to take some heat off his teammate.

On a positive note, McFadgon's layoff didn't appear to hurt his shooting stroke vs. Georgia.

''He hit some nice shots tonight,'' Peterson said following the game. ''He hit one that got us to 41 points early in the second half and that was a big shot in transition.''


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