Coach: Matthew Mitchell, 144-85 overall (114-56 in five seasons at UK; 30-29 in two years at Morehead State)
Last season: 28-7 overall (13-3, won regular-season SEC championship); lost in NCAA Tournament Elite Eight; final national rankings of No. 12 (Associated Press) and No. 8 (ESPN/USA Today)
What's at stake: With the reigning SEC Player of the Year, the conference Freshman of the Year and five McDonald's All-Americans on a roster loaded with depth and talent, expectations are through the roof. Nine of the 13 players on UK's roster were contributors last season, in which UK went unbeaten (18-0) at home and won the team's first SEC regular-season championship in three decades. Kentucky would like to expand that résumé to include tournament champs this season. Nine of UK's top 11 scorers (each averaging in double-figure minutes) return, as do Jennifer O'Neill, who missed last season with a foot injury, and transfer DeNesha Stallworth, who practiced with the team but had to sit out under NCAA rules. Much of the core group has contributed in the past three seasons, which included 25-plus wins and two trips to the Elite Eight. Leading the charge for UK will be A'dia Mathies, a national player of the year candidate, and Bria Goss, the SEC's top freshman last year. But it's the Cats' depth that likely will make them even more dangerous; nearly everyone is back from last season, and the Cats add Stallworth, O'Neill, freshman standout Janee Thompson and top junior-college transfer Jelleah Sidney. A difficult schedule, including a trip to top-ranked Baylor the second game of the season, likely will help prepare UK for another deep, post-season run.