The Kentucky Wildcats are 12-10 all-time in games played against the Michigan State Spartans. The last game between the two teams came during a thrilling double-overtime game during the 2005 NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, the Cats lost that matchup with a 94-88 loss.
At neutral sites, both teams are tied at 2 wins a piece. Only one of the Michigan State wins at a neutral site came during the regular season and that came on December 13, 2003 at Ford Field in Detroit. The Spartans barely won that game, 79-74, while coming into the game as an underdog to the Cats, who were ranked #8 at the time.
This is a much different group than the squad that played Duke last year at the game in Atlanta.
What Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari has this year that he didn’t have last season comes down to Julius Randle, who might be better than any of the NBA rookies playing right now.
“My thing dealing with Julius right now, who has had two pretty good games, that team they will know how to take him away,” Calipari said at a press conference on Monday. “They are going to double team him and they are going to be really physical. They are going to sag and make him take jumpers. They are going to be really tight, but you have Dakari (Johnson) you can throw it to in the post and even Willie (Cauley-Stein). I mean we do have some post play. We had our guards go 2-for-11 last game; that can’t happen, not in this game. They (Michigan State) won’t go 2-for-11. So at least you have to match them.”
Calipari is encouraged by what he has seen out of this squad.
“That we’ve gotten better, that we’ve taken steps up,” Calipari said at a press conference on Monday. “That they’ve learned through every game and then we come in and work on things and it becomes them. Like a guy like Andrew (Harrison), it’s now his, it’s not mine. We made a play out there that I said, ‘hey, the five (man) rebounds this is what I want you to yell out and do.’ About seven plays later the five (man) rebounded and he did it. I’m like, wow. So he’s thinking. We don’t have a team full of guys like that but it’s good when your point guard is that way.”
The game is hyped up. Now we just wait until the game tips off at the United Center.