January 20, 2017

Here are some things to watch in Southeastern Conference basketball this week:

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 24 South Carolina at No. 5 Kentucky: The two remaining teams unbeaten in conference play face off Saturday to determine sole possession of first place. Kentucky (16-2, 6-0 SEC) has won six straight. South Carolina (15-3, 5-0) has won five straight and hasn't lost any of the 12 games that leading scorer Sindarius Thornwell has played this season. Kentucky leads the SEC with 93.3 points per game, while South Carolina yields a league-low 59.4 points per game. Kentucky shoots for the league's highest percentage (.496), while South Carolina has opponents shooting for the league's lowest percentage (.363).

LOOKING AHEAD: Is Alabama for real? It's not much of a surprise to see Kentucky, South Carolina and No. 19 Florida filling the top three spots in the SEC standings, but Alabama's position right behind them raises some eyebrows. Alabama (11-6, 4-1) split its first 10 games this season but has since won six of seven. The next couple of weeks should offer some clues as to whether Alabama can realistically finish as high as fourth in the league. Three of Alabama's next four games are on the road, a stretch that includes trips to Auburn, Georgia and Arkansas.

NUMBERS GAME: Florida went 0 for 17 from 3-point range Wednesday in a 57-53 loss to South Carolina to end a string of 850 consecutive games in which the Gators made at least one 3-pointer. The last time Florida had failed to make a 3-pointer in a game was during a 1992 loss to Kentucky. ... Auburn coach Bruce Pearl earned his 500th career win Wednesday in the Tigers' 78-74 victory over LSU. ... Mississippi's Sebastian Saiz has become the sixth player in school history to have both 1,000 career points and 800 rebounds. ... Kentucky has shot at least 50 percent in six straight games. The last time the Wildcats had such a long streak of games in which they shot 50 percent or better was 1983-84.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Georgia forward Yante Maten: The 6-foot-8 junior has scored at least 15 points in six straight games, a stretch that started with a 31-point performance against Auburn. He had 21 points Tuesday in a victory over Vanderbilt, marking his sixth game this season with at least 20. Maten ranks second in the SEC in scoring (19.7) and field-goal percentage (.550) and third in rebounds (8.1).

ON THE WOMEN'S SIDE: The biggest game in the SEC women's basketball season takes place Monday when No. 5 South Carolina hosts No. 4 Mississippi State. This will mark the only regular-season matchup between the two teams. ... The only other SEC team in the Top 25 this week is No. 25 Texas A&M.

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AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, and David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this story.

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