Kentucky basketball isn't only the SEC's flagship, it's a yacht sailing in private waters of exposure.
At 7 p.m. tonight, ESPN will air the first of three installments of "All-Access Kentucky." A press release calls the series a "showcase (of) what life can be like on a top-level collegiate basketball team."
It's billed as a behind-the-scenes documentary.
It amounts to three, half-hour Big Blue commercials aired nationwide.
For Tennessee, like the rest of its SEC brethren, this is reality. The Wildcats, fresh off title No. 8 and the going-away league favorite in 2012-13, operate in a different orbit.
Is it fair?
"The only thing you can control is what you do on the floor," Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said Tuesday. "You can't consume yourself with things you don't have control over."
The Vols nearly stunned then-No. 2 Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena last January. Despite the pomp and pizzazz around the Wildcats, the two went toe-to-toe like Tennessee whiskey versus Kentucky bourbon on the floor.
It's off the court, though, where the battle is diluted.
Nothing backs that up like ESPN's upcoming Cat-umentary.
"I don't think nothing of it," Vols junior point guard Trae Golden said. "If you win the national championship I guess they're going to do that for you. I don't know, it's like Hollywood at Kentucky. That's what they do."
Now a common occurrence, Kentucky will top the SEC preseason poll next week. The Wildcats return one contributor, Kyle Wiltjer, and add a
new flock of top recruits."
Tennessee, meanwhile, returns more than 80 percent of its scoring, a conference player-of-the-year candidate in Jarnell Stokes and its leading scorer in Golden.
The Vols, however, probably won't receive a single first-place vote.
"The writers can say what they want," Golden said. "Kentucky knows we're a good team. I think we're just a low key group."
Stokes is familiar with the bluster surrounding Kentucky. He was offered a scholarship by coach John Calipari and treated like a king by the Wildcats' fanatical following.
That is until he landed at UT.
Asked Tuesday about the exposure gap between Kentucky and the rest of the SEC, Stokes laughed.
"Oh I don't even know if I want to comment on that," he said smirking. "They'll be a good team. Obviously we have the experience over them, but they'll be ranked ahead of us in the beginning."
Entering his second year as UT coach, Martin is more than aware of Kentucky's never-ending presence. He is steadfast in saying the best way to "sell" Vols basketball is "just winning ballgames."
That doesn't mean Tennessee won't be increasing its own sales pitch.
Last Friday, while the Vols toiled through their first day of practice, Kentucky held Big Blue Madness. The party, which sold out in 35 minutes, drew more than 23,000 fans to Rupp Arena.
Tennessee has nothing comparable ... yet.
"This year we had fall break so you don't want to (have Midnight Madness) when the students are gone, but I think we'll do it next year," Martin said. "I look forward to doing it and I think our guys will be ready for it.
In the meantime, Kentucky will keep doing what Kentucky does.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn