Team preview: Tennessee
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2003-04 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
After the trials and tribulations of his first season at Tennessee, Buzz Peterson needed to catch a few breaks in 2002-2003, and he did. Without question, things went a lot smoother in year two of Peterson's regime. From a 15-16 debut season that included the program's first NCAA Tournament miss in five years, the Vols were 17-12 a year ago.
But even a winning record and a return trip to the postseason-albeit the NIT-left Peterson frustrated. A major cause for that frustration was a Southeastern Conference rule that claimed the postseason eligibility of starting guard Jon Higgins. Higgins, a senior, had changed majors from business to math and, to stay on pace to graduate, he loaded up with four upper-level math classes in the fall semester. Because Higgins didn't pass at least two of the classes, he was ruled ineligible-not for the second semester, but for the postseason. Think that's a dumb rule? So do SEC coaches.