Hopson has scored 14 or more points in each of Tennessee's past four games, helping the Vols to three consecutive wins and a move up to No. 15 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll.
But it wasn't Hopson's scoring that UT coach Bruce Pearl wanted to talk about Monday, so much as his defense and focus.
Pearl believes it'll take a complete effort from the Vols (23-7, 11-5) to make a run in the SEC tournament, starting with Thursday's 3:15 p.m. game against LSU (11-19, 2-14) at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
"Scotty is now playing defense with a purpose,'' Pearl said, "and quietly, his guys don't score.''
Arkansas' Rotnei Clarke had made 95 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc entering last week's game against Tennessee - seven shy of the Razorbacks' single-season record.
With Hopson guarding him, Clarke was 2-of-8 shooting beyond the arc.
At Mississippi State, Barry Stewart was being honored on Senior Day, exiting Starkville as the Bulldogs' all-time leading 3-point shooter.
But against Hopson, Stewart was 1-for-5 shooting the 3-ball.
Hopson's latest turnaround - he has had a few false starts - began a couple of days before the Vols' road trip to Florida when Pearl singled him out for criticism during practice.
"That set a fire in me when Coach pulled me to the side and had that time with me,'' Hopson said. "I wasn't doing the things I needed to do as far as my contributions to the team.
"It made me realize the time is now to step up and play real well.''
Just to make sure Hopson got the point, Pearl kept Hopson out of the starting lineup at Florida.
The Gators beat the Vols 75-62 but not because of Hopson. The sophomore from Hopkinsville, Ky., scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting and played sound defense.
"I talked to Scotty about Eric Berry, and how Berry puts himself into position to make plays on the field,'' Pearl said. "Even before the snap, because of his anticipation, or as things are happening, he's one step ahead.
"Scotty was not that one step ahead.''
Pearl said Hopson's intensity and focus have carried over to the offensive end as well.
"The same thing was true with getting open, or understanding how (opponents) cover a ball screen,'' Pearl said. "Scotty has gotten better because he understands how to read the defense and react accordingly. He's thinking ahead.''
UT assistant Jason Shay has spent extra time with Hopson during the scout portion of the Vols' practices to aid the cause.
"At this time of year, the book is out on us and our players, and how we can take advantage of how a defense is guarding Scotty,'' Shay said. "Every time we ran a ball screen Saturday, Scotty made the correct decisions. He didn't necessarily make the shots, but every decision was the right one.
"Hopefully, that will carry over to the tournament.''
Wayne's World: UT senior Wayne Chism said the extra-curricular activity after Saturday's game at Mississippi State was a result of him taking up for a teammate.
"They were just mad they lost the game,'' said Chism, who exchanged words with Bulldogs freshman Renardo Sidney. "I was just letting them know, you don't run up on one of my teammates like that. I'm going to be there for my teammates.''
Chism said he's not worried about scoring one point in the win over the Bulldogs.
"That one point might look bad, but the win looked good,'' Chism said. "I realize that just my presence makes a difference for our team.
"Even if I'm not scoring, I can still rebound and get the ball to my teammates. They were all scoring, so I really didn't have to.''
Bracket Talk: The Vols are listed as a No. 4 seed in ESPN's bracketology, while CollegeRpi.com has UT has a No. 5 seed.
Pearl is hoping for a No. 3 seed, which likely would require UT beat LSU, Ole Miss (3:15 p.m. Friday) and Kentucky (noon Saturday) to reach the SEC title game.
"There's a huge difference between a 3 or 5 (seed), and there's a difference between being a 5 and an 8, and we've experienced both,'' Pearl said. "You don't worry about what you can't control. You try to put yourself in the best position. The last couple of years we've not managed to be in the best possible positions.''