UT shines when Hopson shines

As Scotty Hopson goes, so goes the Tennessee basketball team. And, unfortunately for the Vols, Scotty hasn't gone very well this week.

Scotty Hopson made his only basket with 9:26 remaining and finished 1 of 7 from the field en route to a season-low 7 points Tuesday night vs. Oakland. Tennessee lost 89-82.

Hopson missed his first eight shots and finished 6 of 19 from the field (1 of 6 from 3) Friday night at Charlotte. Tennessee lost 49-48.

Making those numbers especially noteworthy is the fact they immediately followed his best game as a Vol. Hopson nailed 10 of 13 shots (3 of 3 from 3) and scored a career-best 27 points eight days ago as the Big Orange shocked third-ranked Pitt 83-76 in Pittsburgh.

Three games hardly qualify as conclusive evidence, although the past three outings dramatically illustrate the correlation between Hopson's output and Tennessee's outcome.

That said, here's a look at every game the 2010 Vols have played thus far and the contribution made by their 6-7 junior guard:

- Hopson hits 6 of 9 shots (3 of 4 from 3) en route to 17 points in 21 minutes as Tennessee hammers Brevard 91-42 in the exhibition opener.

- Hopson plays just nine foul-plagued minutes in the exhibition finale vs. Div. II Indianapolis, goes 0 of 1 from the field, finishing with 3 points and 3 turnovers as the Vols suffer a stunning 79-64 loss.

- Hopson goes 5 of 14 from the field (1 of 6 from 3) but it doesn't matter as the Vols trounce Chattanooga 82-62 in the regular-season opener.

- Hopson hits 6 of 11 from the field (1 of 4 from 3) as the Vols struggle to subdue Belmont 85-76.

- Hopson goes 5 of 14 from the field (0 of 3 from 3) as the Vols hold on to nip Missouri State 60-56.

- Hopson hits 6 of 15 from the field (1 of 2 from 3) as the Vols beat Virginia Commonwealth 77-72 in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals.

- Hopson goes 6 of 11 from the field (1 of 3 from 3) as the Vols upset No. 7 Villanova 78-68 in the NIT championship game.

- Hopson hits 5 of 9 from the field (4 of 6 from 3) as the Vols annihilate Middle Tennessee 86-56.

- Hopson goes 10 of 13 from the field (3 of 3 from 3) as the Vols upend No. 3 Pitt 83-76.

- Hopson hits 1 of 7 from the field (0 of 3 from 3) as the Vols fell to a 5-5 Oakland team 89-82.

- Hopson goes 6 of 19 from the field (1 of 6 from 3) as the Vols lose to a 4-6 Charlotte squad 49-48.

For those keeping score at home, here are some totals worth noting:

Hopson averaged 22.5 points per game - shooting 66.7 percent from the field (16 of 24) and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 6) - in Tennessee's signature wins vs. Villanova and Pitt.

He averaged 7.7 points per game - shooting 25.9 percent from the field (7 of 27) and 10 percent from beyond the arc (1 of 10) - in the losses to Indianapolis, Oakland and Charlotte.

Bottom line: Tennessee needs to find Hopson some scoring help.

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