Kentucky basketball fans already had plenty of reasons to tune in for the nationally televised Under Armour Elite 24 game Saturday night.
Now Emmanuel Mudiay has given them even more incentive to watch.
The highly touted Texas point guard revealed Friday that he will announce his college decision during ESPNU's live broadcast of Saturday's game, which starts at 7 p.m.
UK has long been seen as the favorite for Mudiay, but recent buzz over his recruitment and the timing of his decision has changed that thinking.
The new favorite? Coach Larry Brown and the Southern Methodist Mustangs.
"This thing kind of has an SMU vibe to it," Scout.com national analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader on Friday night.
Scout.com ranks Mudiay as the No. 3 overall recruit in the Class of 2014 and the No. 1 point guard. The 6-foot-4 prospect recently narrowed his list of schools to UK, SMU, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas.
Mudiay lives within an hour's drive of the SMU campus and has already visited several times.
"He's been on SMU's campus at least five or six times," Daniels said. "He's from that area. He's very close to his mother and his brother. I think SMU probably has the edge here."
"He was scheduled to visit Kentucky in October, but that visit obviously won't happen unless he ends up being a Wildcat. I like SMU in this one."
So does 247Sports analyst Jerry Meyer, who changed his Crystal Ball prediction Friday night to say that Mudiay will commit to the Mustangs. Meyer, who ranked Mudiay as the No. 1 overall prospect in the country this week, had previously predicted he would end up at Kentucky.
Whoever lands the commitment will be getting an instant-impact playmaker who is likely to bolt after his freshman season as a one-and-done lottery pick.
"I think what sticks out about Mudiay is his physical attributes," Daniels said. "He's every bit of 6-4. He has a strong frame. He's a very good athlete and has really good speed.
"I see some John Wall in him. He's not as fast as John, but similar aspects. He's a really good scorer going toward the basket and has really good vision. ... He's an elite-level recruit."
UK has offered two other point guards from the Class of 2014: Minnesota's Tyus Jones and Chicago-area native Tyler Ulis.
Most recruiting observers consider Duke the favorite to land Jones, who is positioned near Mudiay at the top of the 2014 rankings. Ulis — a 5-foot-8 prospect — is highly touted but not considered a five-star recruit.
New Jersey center Karl Towns Jr. is currently UK's only commitment for the Class of 2014.
Mudiay and Jones will be two of nine players with UK scholarship offers in Saturday night's Elite 24 game in New York City.
Other participants from the Class of 2014 include Stanley Johnson, Devin Booker, Rashad Vaughn, Kelly Oubre, Justise Winslow and Myles Turner.
Turner — a 7-footer from Texas — is the only player on that list who does not have a confirmed scholarship offer from Kentucky, though Calipari is scheduled for an in-home visit next month.
Booker will visit Lexington for the UK Alumni Game Sept. 9. Jones is coming to town for an official visit Sept. 27.
Johnson — the No. 2 overall prospect in the class according to 247Sports — will use his official visit for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 18. If Mudiay picks the Cats, he'll be there too. Vaughn is also considering an official visit for that event.
Oubre and Winslow are still planning their trips to UK.
Towns was originally scheduled to play in the Elite 24 game but had to pull out because he's training with UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua and the Dominican national team.
Two players with UK scholarship offers for the Class of 2015 — Malik Newman and Stephen Zimmerman — will play in Saturday's game.
Newman is considered the No. 1 overall player in the class by Rivals.com and 247Sports. Zimmerman — a 7-footer from Las Vegas — is No. 1 overall in the Scout rankings.
Ivan Rabb and Cheick Diallo are two other 2015 prospects in Saturday's game who could end up with UK offers.
Elite 24 basketball game
When: 7 p.m.
Where: New York City
Elite 24 rosters
Team assignments for the Elite 24 game (with commitments in parentheses):
Team Coney Island: Joel Berry (North Carolina), Devin Booker, Cheick Diallo, Stanley Johnson, Chris McCullough (Syracuse), Emmanuel Mudiay, Kelly Oubre, Theo Pinson (North Carolina), Reid Travis, Romelo Trimble (Maryland), Rashad Vaughn, Stephen Zimmerman.
Team Bed-Stuy: Chris Chiozza (Florida), Justin Jackson (North Carolina), Tyus Jones, Thon Maker, Malik Newman, Goodluck Okonoboh, Ivan Rabb, D'Angelo Russell (Ohio State), Myles Turner, Isaiah Whitehead, Justise Winslow, Dion Wiley (Maryland).
Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216Twitter: @NextCatsBlog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com