A victory over No. 24 Kentucky would mean quite a bit for resurgent Texas A&M with the Wildcats visiting Reed Arena in College Station, Texas, on Saturday.
For starters, it would avenge a one-point loss last month in Lexington, Ky. The Aggies would also pull even in the SEC at 6-6 after starting 0-5. And it would mean a four-game winning streak, Texas A&M's longest since December.
"In this league, every game is big," Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said.
The Aggies (16-8, 5-6) are led by their big man tandem of Tyler Davis and Robert Williams. The two were honored on the slimmed down watch list (10 players) for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award (Davis) and Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award (Williams).
Davis has been consistent all season. The junior is the only A&M player to start all 24 games, producing the second most double-doubles in the SEC with nine. Williams has taken his production to another level in the conference, averaging 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in his last seven games while shooting 77 percent from the floor.
Texas A&M has also received a needed shot in the arm from freshman TJ Starks on the perimeter.
After joining the starting lineup at Kansas on Jan. 27, Stark has averaged 14.8 points on 66.7 percent 3-point range in four games. The Dallas native is coming off a career-best 23-point effort in Texas A&M's road upset at No. 8 Auburn on Wednesday night.
The Aggies have two road wins over Top 10 teams this season, a first in program history. Texas A&M is 3-3 against ranked teams this season.
"Now that they're healthy, they're winning games," Kentucky coach John Calipari said of Texas A&M. "They were a top-five team to start the year and now they can go on a run of games and all of a sudden you turn around and they're back to being a top-10 team."
Kentucky (17-7, 6-5) heads to College Station after suffering back-to-back losses to Missouri and Tennessee. The Wildcats have only lost back-to-back games 10 times during the Calipari era and they've never lost three in a row with him on the sideline.
"The big thing with us is just making sure we stay focused, prepare because this is a hard conference and with a young team were going to experience some tough losses," freshman forward Kevin Knox said. "Make sure that we stay positive and we just keep moving on."
Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each scored 15 points in Kentucky's 61-59 home loss to No. 15 Tennessee on Tuesday. Knox added 10 points.
The series has been tightly contested since Texas A&M joined the SEC for the 2012-13 campaign despite Kentucky leading 7-2. In nine meetings as SEC opponents, four have gone to overtime, including three at Reed Arena, and six overall were decided by eight points or less.
Kentucky beat Texas A&M 74-73 on Jan. 9 at Rupp Arena.