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RJ Barrett Hammers on Miami, Tennessee Avenges Kentucky Loss, Top Highlights

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 3, 2019

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - MARCH 02:   Admiral Schofield #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers celebrates in the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Thompson-Boling Arena on March 02, 2019 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers avenged one of their three losses Saturday in the marquee game of the college basketball slate.

Tennessee, who lost to No. 4 Kentucky by 17 points at Rupp Arena on February 16, knocked off the Wildcats by 19 points Saturday afternoon.

The Vols' quest to regain the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 is going to be difficult since four top-five teams came out on top during the loaded day of college basketball.

Third-ranked Duke continued to thrive without the injured Zion Williamson, as R.J. Barrett once again stole the spotlight with 19 points and 10 rebounds against Miami.

                                      

Saturday's AP Top 25 Scores

Saint Mary's 55, No. 1 Gonzaga 69

No. 2 Virginia 73, Pittsburgh 49

No. 3 Duke 87, Miami 57

No. 7 Tennessee 71, No. 4 Kentucky 52

Clemson 79, No. 5 North Carolina 81

Indiana 63, No. 6 Michigan State 62

No. 8 Houston 64, UCF 69

TCU 66, No. 11 Texas Tech 81

Utah State 81, No. 12 Nevada 76

Alabama 69, No. 13 LSU 74

No. 14 Purdue 86, Ohio State 51

Oklahoma State 67, No. 15 Kansas 72

No. 16 Kansas State 66, Baylor 60 

No. 18 Florida State 76, NC State 73

No. 19 Wisconsin 61, Penn State 57

No. 22 Iowa 72, Rutgers 86

No. 23 Cincinnati 71, Memphis 69

Samford 64, No. 24 Wofford 85

                     

Barrett Throws Down Against Miami

CBS Sports @CBSSports

RJ BARRETT WITH THE HAMMER https://t.co/BpXDG03aUy

                      

Schofield Rises for Slam 

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

THE ADMIRAL IS CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF! 😱💪 @Vol_Hoops https://t.co/s8w6zlep8q

                          

Bowden Finishes UT Alley-Oop

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

GET UP BOWDEN! ✈️ @Vol_Hoops https://t.co/mDn4s19KNU

                             

Indiana Upsets Michigan State

Big Ten Network @BigTenNetwork

Bedlam in Bloomington! @IndianaMBB has Sparty's number this year as the Hoosiers SWEEP No. 6 Michigan State: https://t.co/V5gLzKA1PX

                                  

New Mexico State's 1-Hand Slam

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

Johnny McCants CAN do this! 💪 @NMStateMBB https://t.co/89DQhp6Tmb

                        

O'Connell Rises for Dunk

CBS Sports CBB @CBSSportsCBB

Get up, Alex O'Connell! https://t.co/jycEhUGQPa

                             

Baker Delivers Rutgers Dagger

Big Ten Network @BigTenNetwork

Geo Baker dagger! 🗡 @RutgersMBB goes up 19 in the second half, and the Scarlet Knights silence Iowa at home: https://t.co/xFDR9uaNpU

                        

McClung's Acrobatic Layup

CBS Sports Network @CBSSportsNet

He's like an ACROBAT. Mac McClung with the fancy layup for @GeorgetownHoops. https://t.co/w3mdtAtrw9

                          

Pritzl's Big Day Off Bench for Badgers

Wisconsin On BTN @WisconsinOnBTN

This man was 🔥 all afternoon. @BadgerMBB holds on, and Brevin Pritzl was the X-Factor: https://t.co/zEmPGrrvZ5

                            

Gafford Rises for a Block

SEC Network @SECNetwork

"N🚫PE" — @Dan_G33, probably https://t.co/Naf7X7YIVF

                                    

Vols Level Season Series with UK 

Tennessee punched back against Kentucky with one of its best performances of the season at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The victory came a few weeks after Kentucky earned its largest victory over a top-ranked opponent at Rupp Arena.

Tennessee's 19-point margin of victory Saturday was its largest in program history against a team in the top five of the AP rankings, per ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Last month, Kentucky posted its largest margin of victory over an AP No. 1-ranked opponent in its 17-point win over Tennessee. Today, the Vols turned the tables on the Cats, as Tennessee notched its biggest margin of victory (19 pts) over an AP top-5 opponent. https://t.co/WUIM7ewyc1

The Vols were counted out of the national title picture by some after losing to Kentucky, and Wildcats head coach John Calipari said after the game in Knoxville, Tennessee, that those same critics will come after his team now, per The Athletic's Kyle Tucker:

Kyle Tucker @KyleTucker_ATH

Calipari says his friend Rick Barnes and the Vols "deserve this" big win on national TV. Said critics said UT wasn't that good after getting blown out in Lexington. "Now they'll say we're not that good."

The Vols were led by an unlikely top scorer in guard Jordan Bone, who scored 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting.

Bone said postgame that his hard work throughout the season has been paying off, per WATE Sports.

"It's definitely a confidence booster," Bone said. "It shows that the hard work has been paying off. Just to be able to knock down those shots in a moment like this means a lot. I'm going to continue to do what I do."

Rick Barnes' team's victory leveled the playing field in the race for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament out of the SEC, and it also dropped Kentucky one game back of Tennessee and LSU in the fight for the conference's regular-season crown.

                                

Indiana Keeps NCAA Tournament Hopes Alive

Since the NCAA tournament bubble isn't as strong as it normally is, teams like Indiana are still alive in their quest to secure spots in the field of 68.

The Hoosiers bolstered their resume Saturday with their second win of the season over Michigan State.

The 15-14 Hoosiers are just 6-12 in the Big Ten, but they have two victories over the Spartans and another one over Wisconsin.

With two conference games against Illinois and Rutgers left, Indiana could end the regular season with an 8-12 Big Ten record and on the edge of the bubble.

But as head coach Archie Miller noted, the Hoosiers have to continue to win to have a chance at dancing, per Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star:

Zach Osterman @ZachOsterman

Archie Miller: "Our resume will speak for itself. ... If you take the name off the front, you're gonna look at a stretch of the season that obviously doesn't look very good, but it's all about how you finish. We have to win. We have to win, period." #iubb

As Bleacher Report's Kerry Miller pointed out, when it comes to the bubble, the Hoosiers are in a similar situation to Vanderbilt from two years ago:

Kerry Miller @kerrancejames

2 years ago, Vanderbilt went 19-15, but it played a tough schedule and won two regular-season games against one of the best teams in the country (Florida). The Commodores got a 9 seed. Indiana in the exact same situation if it doesn't lose to Illinois or Rutgers next week.

As long as Indiana finishes the regular season with two more wins and takes one or two victories in the Big Ten tournament, it will be firmly on the bubble come Selection Sunday, which isn't good news for mid-major hopefuls looking to crash the party as at-large teams.

                            

Sunday's AP Top 25 Schedule

Creighton at No. 10 Marquette (3 p.m. ET, FS1)

No. 9 Michigan at No. 17 Maryland (3:45 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 25 Washington at Stanford (4 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

                                

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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