College Basketball: Why Kentucky vs. Ole Miss Is the Game to Watch This Week

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 15:  Julius Mays #34 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Rupp Arena on January 15, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After yet another tumultuous week, we still do not know who is the best team in the country.

One thing for certain is which two teams occupy the spotlight for game of the week. 


Kentucky (13-6, 4-2) at Ole Miss (17-2, 8-0); Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET; ESPN

Tuesday's SEC showdown between the Kentucky Wildcats and Ole Miss Rebels could feature a changing of the guard in the conference.

Kentucky has been the perennial SEC favorite for the past decade, but it has fallen on hard times this season. 

The Wildcats' play has been inconsistent all season with losses to Baylor, Notre Dame, Duke and Louisville in non-conference games and losses to Texas A&M and Alabama in-conference.

The developmental process of the freshmen on John Calipari's team has taken longer than expected, but they are still a team capable of putting together a run in March. 

Of the eight players used by Calipari, five of them average over 10 points per game. 

That group is led by point guard Archie Goodwin, who averages a team-leading 14.6 points per game. 

In the Wildcats' win over LSU on Saturday, it was not Goodwin who stole the spotlight, it was Alex Poythress, who recorded a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. 

The guard combination of Goodwin, Kyle Wiltjer and Ryan Harrow, partnered with the inside presence of Poythress, Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein, is something that should strike fear into any opponent. 

But the biggest flaw of the Kentucky lineup is their inconsistency. 

In their biggest conference test of the season against Alabama last week, the Wildcats fell flat in Tuscaloosa and ended up losing 59-55. 

On Tuesday night at the Tad Pad, the Wildcats will have to play at their highest level to pull off an upset victory.

As for the co-leaders of the SEC, Andy Kennedy's Ole Miss Rebels have surprised everyone in America with their performance this season. 

The Rebels are in the midst of a nine-game winning streak, the last six of which came in SEC play. 

The validity of their season will be tested this week with Kentucky visiting Oxford on Tuesday, before they visit Gainesville on Saturday to play the other undefeated team in the SEC, the Florida Gators. 

The Rebels offense is powered by junior guard Marshall Henderson, who has scored over 20 points in eight games this season. 

Henderson's 19.2 points per game is just one of the reasons why the Rebels are ranked fifth in the nation in scoring.

While Henderson is the clear-cut superstar on the Rebels team, they would not be where they are without the contributions made by senior forward Murphy Holloway, who is averaging 14.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

All the statistics are nice, but if Ole Miss wants to come out of Tuesday night's game victorious, they will have to show up and keep the Wildcats off their game. 

Tuesday's game in Oxford has all the makings of an upset with Ole Miss looking ahead towards a big game this weekend and Kentucky searching for a big win. 

If the Rebels are able to weather the storm of the Wildcats' young attack, then they should be able to squeeze out a victory and go into Gainesville at 7-0 in the SEC. 

For more college basketball insight, stay tuned to Bleacher Report and follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.