Preview: No. 2 Kentucky v No. 13 Michigan State
NEW YORK, Sporting Alert – No. 2 Kentucky and No. 13 Michigan State will lock horns in a 2016 State Farm Champions Classic matchup here at Madison Square Garden in New York, Tuesday night.
TV Channels: ESPN, WatchESPN
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
The Wildcats (2-0), who have the top recruiting class for the 5th time in the past 8 seasons, are up and running on the season, winning their opening two games to start the new college basketball campaign.
However, head coach John Calipari is expecting a tough encounter against a Tom Izzo-coached Michigan State side that will be looking to bounce back from its season opener defeat.
“Go play a team that you know is going to play hard, you know is going to rebound, you know is going to fly,” Calipari said on Sunday.
“If you don’t get back on defense, they’re going to shoot layups. You know they get back. They rebound like crazy, that’s their hallmark. They rebound, they bang.
“Tom does a great job with his team and puts them in great positions like always and it will be a war.
“It’s going to be a tough game for us. We may start four freshmen, that’s a tough place to start four freshmen walking into Madison Square Garden in that level of a game.”
Isaiah Briscoe, who scored a career-high 21 points in the 93-69 victory Sunday night over Canisius, is averaging 19.0 points per game and shooting almost 63-percent from the floor.
Freshman De’Aaron Fox, who also scored a career-high 21 points against Canisius, leads Kentucky in assists per game with 7.5, while he’s also averaging 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per match after two outings.
Michigan State Looks To Bounce Back
Meanwhile, Michigan State started its campaign on a losing note after suffering a 65-63 defeat to No. 10 Arizona in the Armed Forces Classic in Friday night’s season opener in Honolulu.
However, the Spartans (0-1) have won four of the last five matchups with Kentucky, with the last meeting ending 78-74 in favour of the Big Ten ball club in this same Champions Classic.
“Michigan State just lost,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said ahead of the game. “So we’re going to be playing a mean dog up in New York.”
He added on Sunday: “It will be hard. We got to practice and travel (Monday). Have dinner in New York City, and you play the next day. How much can I do?”
Michigan State will be led by a group of talent youngsters, led by freshman Miles Bridges, who scored 21.0 points and pulled down 7.0 rebounds in the defeat against Arizona.
Overall, Michigan State and Kentucky have met 23 times with Wildcats leading the series 12-11.
According to the oddsmakers, Kentucky is the 7.5-point favourite to beat Michigan State.