1. "WE CAN BEAT ANYONE, BUT..."
Fans have heard -- and witnessed -- it all season long: Kentucky (17-6, 7-3 SEC) is good enough to beat anyone in the country on a given night, but not consistent enough to take any game for granted. Georgia (13-8, 6-4 SEC) is a "very, very difficult game," according to UK head coach John Calipari, who has always professed strong respect for UGA counterpart Mark Fox. The Bulldogs proved it last season, playing the incredibly deep and talented Wildcats to an 11-point game in Lexington and an eight-point game in Athens. The latter took a 16-2 run by UK over the final five minutes to slip out of town with a W. Several UGA players are back from that team, including Yante Maten (15.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg), Kenny Gaines (14.0 ppg) and Charles Mann (10.7 ppg). Maten had a combined 21 points and 16 rebounds against the Cats in last year's two matchups.
2. THE GLASS IS KEY
Kentucky has been a streaky team in the rebounding department, especially when its big men have encountered foul trouble. The Cats may be without senior forward Alex Poythress (10.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) for the second consecutive game with a swelling in his right knee, so it's a big concern for Calipari heading into a game against a Georgia team that has the most rebounds in SEC play. The Bulldogs are 11-0 this season when winning or matching the opponent in the rebounding column. Freshman center Isaac Humphries gave UK a boost in its win over Florida, grabbing six boards in only 15 minutes of play. The Cats may need that type of effort from the big Aussie again Tuesday. Calipari also hinted that, if Poythress is unable to play, fans may see the debut of 6-foot-10, 255-pound New Zealand product Tai Wynyard, who joined the program in January.
3. GOOD LOOKS COULD BE RARE
The Cats and Dawgs enter this matchup as the SEC's top two defensive teams in conference play. Georgia leads the league, holding opponents to only 37.5 percent from the field. Kentucky is next at 40 percent. Both teams will likely need a player (or two) to step up and knock down some shots from beyond the 3-point arc to loosen things up and keep the other defense honest. Jamal Murray knocked down eight treys on Saturday en route to a career-high 35 points against Florida, so he figures to have the Dawgs' full attention. Kentucky may need Tyler Ulis, Derek Willis or maybe an X-factor off the bench to provide some perimeter scoring.
Kentucky and Georgia tip off at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.