Positions preview: UK vs Texas A&M

Guard Isaiah Briscoe guards a Vols player during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Rupp Arena on February 16, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 80-70.

Anthony Crawford

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All eyes will be on the SEC with College GameDay coming to College Station for the matchup between UK and Texas A&M. The game pits the conferences two highest ranked teams over the course of the season and will give UK a chance to build on its possession of first place in the conference.

The Aggies were able to shake off a four-game skid with a win against Ole Miss, but the Cats provide a better chance for the Texas A&M to show they are still a contender with March approaching. Here are the matchups to watch in the game on Saturday.

Tyler Ulis vs. Alex Caruso

UK has recently started going all out for the Tyler Ulis’ Player of the Year campaign, and the sophomore keeps showing he is worthy of it with his play on the court. Ulis had trouble scoring inside against Tennessee when its defense forced him to be a driver. He went 3-for-15 from the field but he was still able to add nine assists to contribute to the offense.

Alex Caruso is the engines that keeps the Aggies offense running. His scoring average is modest at 8.1 points per game but he leads the team in assists with 4.9 per game.

Isaiah Briscoe vs. Anthony Collins

Texas A&M is the only team to have two player rank in the top five in the SEC in assists. Senior transfer Anthony Collins is the second Aggie to make the list at fifth with 4.5 per game. The pass-first point guard has also improved on his scoring since arriving from South Florida. He boasts a team high 47.7 percent three-point field goal percentage.

Freshman Isaiah Briscoe was called out earlier in the week by the media for being the third wheel when it comes to UK’s great guards. While he may not score or pass as well as his teammates, his all-around imprint on the game is undeniable. His stat line against Tennessee just showed that as he was able to add five points and ten rebounds.

Jamal Murray vs. Danuel House

Danuel House comes in as the Aggies other leading scorer and the senior’s contribution of 15.6 points per game would look really impressive if his matchup wasn’t on fire right now. Freshman Jamal Murray is averaging 19.2 points per game in SEC play and his last game against Tennessee showed he can score in more ways than just shooting the long ball.

Murray totaled 28 points and his new emphasis on driving to the basketball allowed him to go 9-for-10 from the free-throw line. There will be a lot of baskets traded in this matchup.

Derek Willis vs. Jalen Jones

Junior Derek Willis ranks fifth in the SEC in three-point percentage and that number only went up with his performance against the Volunteers. Willis tallied a career-high 25 points while pouring in seven shots from deep.

As valuable as Willis has been as a scorer, senior Jalen Jones is just as important for the Aggies coming in tied for first as the teams leading scorer with 15.6 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounding with seven per game, so Willis will have to give some extra effort when boxing him out.

Marcus Lee vs. Tyler Davis

The most important thing to look at in this matchup is whether or not junior Marcus Lee will be healthy enough to play for the Cats. He missed the second half against Tennessee because of a back injury and with senior Alex Poythress already out, UK’s front court is starting to get dangerously thin.