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Monday Musings: An unforgettable night in Rupp for the Vols

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports


And you good folks know what that means. It’s once again time to climb into some cars, fasten your shoulder harnesses, and spin through orange-and-white-colored loops of Tennessee-Vols-related thoughts spiraling through the caverns of my brain.

1) My absolute goodness, what an incredible performance on Saturday night. On a night where Dalton Knecht was human - thanks in part to attention from Kentucky’s defense - Zakai Zeigler was superhuman. 26 points and an astounding 13 assists. Undoubtedly the best performance he’s ever had in a Tennessee uniform. If THAT’S what the Vols can get in key games, then the ceiling just disappeared for this Tennessee team.

2) Josiah-Jordan James also had himself a day. 26 points which included splashing in 4 of 9 three-point attempts. His hot shooting gave Tennessee one more option than Kentucky had a shot of defending. When Zakai and JJJ are on, this team simply can’t be stopped offensively.

3) It was a game that felt so much more like the Vols were making things happen offensively instead of basically standing around and watching Knecht to do something. It’s nice to know that Knecht is a guy you can lean on, but Saturday night was Exhibit A that sometimes you certainly don’t have to.

4) And how much fun is it to hear Tennessee color commentator Bert Bertelkamp yell MONEY! after a big shot? Needless to say he let a lot of MONEYs fly on Saturday night. Enjoy:

5) Speaking of cool tweets from the men’s basketball team, there’s this little nugget, too.

I knew there had been three other teams that had gone to Rupp Areana and broken the century mark - and that Tennessee hadn’t been one of them before Saturday. I did NOT know that was the most points by Tennessee in a regulation SEC road game since 1989. That is quite the accomplishment - and quite the time and place to do it.

6) The result of the Tobe Awaka - Aaron Bradshaw dust up was just dumb. Want to give out technicals? Fine. However, you can’t punish a guy who shoves another player as much as everyone else in the scrum. Jordan Gainey and Tobe Awaka received technical fouls, as did Bradshaw and Rob Dillingham. Bradshaw was whistled for a common foul, which was the original call before the scuffle. I get what Doug Shows and his crew were trying to do with the technical fouls, but if that’s the verdict for the group involved, Bradshaw deserved more.

7) Tennessee dropped in the AP and coaches polls from 5 to 6, but Joey Brackets said they are one of five teams after Saturday with a one-seed type of resume. Can’t complain about that. Now, they’ve got to go out and prove it, starting Wednesday night against LSU.

Go Vols!