KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Here are some pregame storylines from Kentucky-Tennessee:
Kentucky coach John Calipari said winning an SEC title would mean "nothing," preferring to point toward the NCAA tournament. But Kentucky fans are aware a victory today over the rival Volunteers would clinch a share of the school's 44th league title. For all its domination of the league, Kentucky hasn't won an outright SEC title since 2005.
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said in Saturday's Knoxville News-Sentinel, "We could have a good year without beating Kentucky, but we can't have a great year without beating Kentucky." So far this year, the Vols are 0-1 in that department. Last year they were 0-2. Last time they beat the Wildcats, they were ranked No. 1 and Kentucky was unranked, in 2008.
If Tennessee is going to win, it likely will need a full game from center Wayne Chism (who fouled out in just 15 minutes and banged his previously sore hip Tuesday in a loss to Florida) and a big game from guard Scotty Hopson. The sophomore was a McDonald's All-American out of Hopkinsville, Ky., and has all the athleticism to be a big-time player -- but he hasn't been very assertive going to the basket. Hopson shot only 59 free throws in 27 games, just four of them in the last three games.
Will Tennessee zone the Cats? It's been fairly standard operating procedure this season, testing their outside shooting. It hasn't worked often -- but Kentucky is on a cold streak from outside. UK has made just 10 of its last 51 3-point shots: 4-for-24 against Mississippi State; 3-for-16 against Vanderbilt; 3-for-11 against South Carolina.