No. 13 Florida, No. 11 Kentucky game could decide SEC race

Here are a few things to watch in the Southeastern Conference this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 13 Florida at No. 11 Kentucky: The winner of Saturday's showdown at Rupp Arena takes over sole possession of first place in the SEC. They enter the game with identical 23-5 overall records and 13-2 conference marks. Florida has won nine straight games, including an 88-66 victory over Kentucky in Gainesville on Feb. 4. Kentucky has won five in a row since that loss at Florida. The Gators won't have injured center John Egbunu, who had eight points and seven rebounds in the first meeting with Kentucky.

LOOKING AHEAD: Vanderbilt's chance to make a statement: Vanderbilt (15-13, 8-7 SEC) has won three straight games as it attempts to make a late run at an NCAA Tournament bid. After hosting Mississippi State on Saturday, Vanderbilt visits Kentucky and hosts Florida in its final two regular-season games. That's quite a demanding stretch, but it also gives the Commodores opportunities for upsets that would impress the selection committee. Vanderbilt leads the SEC in 3-pointers and 3-point percentage, but its defense has played a big part in the recent surge. The Commodores won 67-56 at Tennessee on Wednesday by holding the Volunteers to their lowest point total and field-goal percentage of the season.

NUMBERS GAME: This is the third straight season in which Missouri has lost at least 20 games. Never before has an SEC team lost 20-plus games in three straight seasons (Texas A&M did it while it was still in the Big 12). ... Florida went 9 of 19 from 3-point range in an 81-66 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday after missing all 17 of its 3-point attempts in a 57-53 loss at South Carolina on Jan. 18. ... Vanderbilt has forced its last three opponents to shoot a combined 7 of 42 from 3-point range. ... Tennessee's Robert Hubbs III scored his 1,000th career point Wednesday against Vanderbilt. He's the 48th Volunteer to reach that mark. ... Arkansas' Daryl Macon scored 30 points as a reserve in a victory over Mississippi on Saturday. He's one of only four Razorbacks to score 30-plus points off the bench since Arkansas joined the SEC in the 1991-92 season.

PLAYER TO WATCH: He's been overshadowed by other freshmen playing for more successful teams, but Texas A&M forward Robert Williams is producing a fantastic debut season. Williams has nine double-doubles this season, including four in his last five games. The 6-foot-9 forward also has blocked at least one shot in 27 straight games, a streak that leads all Division I players. He's second in the SEC in rebounds (7.7) and rebounds (2.7).

ON THE WOMEN'S SIDE: No. 3 Mississippi State and No. 7 South Carolina share first place in the SEC standings heading into the final weekend of the regular season. Mississippi State is seeking to earn the school's first SEC regular-season title in any women's sport. If Mississippi State and South Carolina end up tied for first place, South Carolina would get the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament because it won the lone regular-season matchup between these two teams. ... No. 24 Missouri's .802 free-throw percentage puts the Tigers on pace to break the SEC single-season record of .781, set by Georgia in 2005-06.

-----

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

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.