1. Which Aggies Show Up?
At this time in January, it looked like Texas A&M was a good bet to run away with the SEC regular season championship. The Aggies had won 17 of their first 19 games and climbed to No. 5 in the AP Top 25 poll. Since then, however, Billy Kennedy's club has fallen on hard times. A&M (19-7, 8-5 SEC) has dropped five of its last seven games, but appeared to get back on track with a solid 71-56 win on Tuesday over Ole Miss. ESPN's College Gameday will be in town for the UK game, and it's likely to be the best atmosphere of the season at Reed Arena. "Everybody's Super Bowl," Calipari will suggest. Kentucky (20-6, 10-3 SEC) has fared well against A&M since it entered the league for the 2012-13 season, winning three of the four matchups. Ironically, the only loss was in Rupp Arena on a day when Elston Turner exploded for 40 points to shock the Cats. The last two times UK played in College Station, it took a combined three overtime periods to leave town with wins. Expect it to be a really tough place to play again on Saturday.
2. Is UK Healthy Enough In Frontcourt To Compete?
Coming off a Thursday night game against Tennessee, Kentucky will be playing for the second time in less than 48 hours, and the timing is not good for the Cats. Senior forward Alex Poythress is expected to miss his fifth consecutive game with swelling in a knee. Junior center Marcus Lee exited the UT game after only 17 minutes of action with a sore back. Junior forward Derek Willis, who scored a career-high 25 points against the Vols, admitted afterward that he's fighting through back spasms, tendonitis in his knees and a pair of sore ankles. That's three key components of the UK frontcourt that will either not play or not be at 100 percent against an Aggies squad that features 6-foot-10, 265-pound center Tyler Davis (10.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) on the low block. Kentucky will need a strong effort from freshman big man Skal Labissiere, but his wiry frame does not match up well with Davis. That means freshman center Isaac Humphries (7-foot, 260) may be in line for more minutes if Lee is limited or out of action. The Cats' Aussie import as 16 rebounds and eight blocked shots off the bench in his last four games.
3. Edge: Young Talent or Experienced Ballers?
While Kentucky will rely heavily on its three-man backcourt of sophomore Tyler Ulis and freshmen Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe, A&M has one of the most experienced teams in the SEC. The Aggies are expected to start four seniors around Davis, a freshman, in the post. It's essentially a four-guard approach with versatility at every spot. Wings Danuel House and Jalen Jones are both averaging 15.6 points per game. The other two guards, Anthony Collins and Alex Caruso, provide timely scoring, but are better known as adept passers. They average 4.5 and 4.9 assists, respectively. That bunch will have to contend with UK's Murray, who is one of the hottest players in America. The Canadian shooting guard has posted 35, 24, 26 and 28 points in his last four games, going 21 of 37 from 3-point range. Ulis, meanwhile has positioned himself for national player of the year honors, averaging 16.4 points and 6.8 assists per game. Over his last four games, the 5-foot-9 dynamo has scored 70 points, dished out 40 assists and -- perhaps most impressively -- turned the ball over only five times.