The crowd undoubtedly contributed to UT's defeat of Florida. Peterson admits as much.
''When I walked in there with two minutes left to the start of the game, it was a different feel in the gym,'' he said. ''Even though we got behind eight points (down 8-0 in the opening two minutes), the crowd was still loud.
''When (Jon) Higgins hit the 3, made the steal and Elgrace (Wilborn) dunked the ball, I turned to one of the assistants and said, 'Can you believe this?' It was so loud ... I really believe that helped us play good, solid defense down the stretch. Those last 12 minutes may have been as fine a defense as we've played all season.
''It was a big boost to have the students and fans behind us.''
In addition to boosting the home team, a loud crowd can have a detrimental effect on the visiting team. Thus, a rabid fan following is something of a double-whammy.
''I think our guys like that, and it's tough on an opponent -- a big crowd like that that's vocal and loud,'' Peterson said. ''I really appreciate what everybody's done to get behind this team ... the students and fans. Win or lose, I think everybody appreciates the hard work they've done.''