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Jeff Eisenberg

Five observations from Tennessee's win over Kentucky

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Tennessee notched its second victory over a future No. 1 seed in two months, withstanding a fierce Kentucky rally from a 19-point second-half deficit on Saturday to give the second-ranked Wildcats' their second loss. Here are five quick observations from the Vols' 74-65 stunner:

• Big Blue Nation will not be happy with the Lexington Herald-Leader photo to the right of Scotty Hopson doing the "John Wall dance" after the game, but classy or not, Hopson did earn the right to brag. The former McDonalds all-American and Kentucky native hit the biggest shot of the game, a contested left-wing 3-pointer to put the Vols up five with 41 seconds to play after the Wildcats rallied to tie it.

• Kentucky's No. 1 seed is not in any jeopardy unless it loses to Georgia or Florida next week, but if you're looking for a chink in the Wildcats' armor, their 3-point shooting has been abysmal recently. Two-for-22 shooting from behind the arc against Tennessee brought Kentucky's 3-point shooting to 11 of 73 in its past four games, a huge reason why its half-court offense looks so out of sorts.

• You could make the argument that this has been Bruce Pearl's best coaching job this season keeping Tennessee on track after Tyler Smith's arrest, but he almost lost this one for the Vols' going to basketball's version of a prevent defense down the stretch. How many times did Tennessee let the shot clock get under 10 in the second half before taking a contested 3-pointer that led to a Kentucky run-out? Five by my count, which let the Wildcats get back in the game.

• Whatever ground John Wall gained on Evan Turner in the national player of the year race last week, he probably lost Saturday with a couple of costly turnovers in the final 90 seconds. Wall was scintillating in transition in leading Kentucky back and finished with 19 points, but 6 of 16 shooting, 0-for-4 from behind the arc and five turnovers doesn't match Turner's all-around brilliance.

• Did anyone else catch DeMarcus Cousins walk off the floor with his arms raised over his head as if he was being held up at gun-point? No doubt a response to being accused of punching a South Carolina student rushing the court after Kentucky's only previous loss. Priceless.

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