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No. 4 Kentucky upset at the hands of Rick Barnes, Tennessee


Robert Hubbs scored 25 points and Grant Williams chipped in with 13 points, six boards, six assists, four steals and three blocks as Tennessee picked off No. 4 Kentucky in Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday night, 82-80.

It’s the third time in the last four games that the Wildcats have lost to UT on the road.

The loss is Kentucky’s first since they fell at Louisville in late-December, and it opens the door for South Carolina to make a run at the SEC title. The Vols, who nearly beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill earlier this season, are now 4-4 in the SEC.

Here are four things to take away from this game:

1. This is why Kentucky’s perimeter shooting is a concern: The Wildcats finished the night shooting 6-for-24 from beyond the arc. Malik Monk was 3-for-13 by himself. A number of those misses were good looks from three in critical moments – off the top of my head, Derek Willis missed one late in the second half that would have put Kentucky after 67-66 – and a handful of them were bad shots forced by Monk. The Wildcats have gotten better shooting the ball from the perimeter after a slow start to the season, and to me, this was more of an off-night when a showdown against No. 2 Kansas on the horizon than anything.

But it was something of a wakeup call. I didn’t think Monk, Fox or Briscoe played particularly well, and when those three don’t play well, this team is beatable.

2. Kentucky’s interior defense got worked: The Vols scored 42 points in the paint. Admiral Schofield had 15. Grant Williams had 13 points and six assists. Robert Hubbs did much of his damage as the Vols ran inverted offense, posting up the big, physical wing against UK’s freshmen back court. Bam Adebayo was terrific offensively, good enough that Kentucky’s inability to get him the ball was a noticeable issue, but he didn’t do much to discourage Tennessee from going at the rim.

Bam wasn’t the only issue, either. Wenyen Gabriel and Derek Willis were outmuscled by Tennessee’s big men as well. All in all, it’s not going to be fun for those big men when they watch the film on this one.

3. All that said, Kentucky lost by two: This just wasn’t Kentucky’s night. They were not good. And they lost a league game on the road by two points. That probably says more about this team than anything else.

4. Good for Rick Barnes and Tennessee: Looking at their record, you might think that this Tennessee team has had a disappointing season. And they have, but it’s not so much because they’re a bad team and more an issue of struggling to close out winnable games. They lost to Oregon in overtime in Maui. They lost at North Carolina by two points. They gave Wisconsin, and Florida, and Gonzaga a fight.

And the finally have a season-defining win to show for it. Hell, they might be the only team to beat these Wildcats in the SEC this season.

So while I’m not sure that even this is enough to get Tennessee into bubble contention, it is enough to keep their season from being a total loss. And it is the kind of win that a program with some promising young talent can build off of.

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.