No. 1 vs. No. 2: Kentucky Set To Take On Michigan State
11/12/2013 10:20 AM
The game has already been described as a big deal, a challenge and a war. The No. 1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats set to take on No. 2 Michigan State in the earliest match-up between top-ranked teams.
The Wildcats come into the game off of a two-game winning streak, defeating UNC Asheville and Northern Kentucky by a combined 62 points, but the Spartans are more than a couple notches above UK’s previous opponents.
Sophomore guard for the Spartans Gary Harris led the team in scoring against McNeese State last Friday with 20 points although last season he averaged 12.9 per game. The rest of the starting lineup of Adreian Payne, Matt Costello, Denzel Valentine and Keith Appling combined for 39 points and 24 rebounds, but the biggest boost for MSU will be from two players who came off the bench.
Junior guard Travis Trice came off the bench to contribute 11 points and eight assists. In his first two seasons at MSU, he averaged 4.7 points and 1.9 assists. Junior Branden Dawson led the team in rebounding against McNeese State with 12 rebounds and 12 points to match. His career averages before this season were 5.2 rebounds and 8.7 points.
The Wildcats are young and do not have the college basketball minutes under their belt like Michigan State does, but the key for UK will come down to chemistry and teamwork.
“The question is about how we play together, how hard we play, how we deal with adversity and we deal with prosperity,” John Calipari said. “Those questions will be answered [against Michigan State].”