Kentucky Wildcats Basketball - Know Your Enemy: #2 Michigan State Spartans

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Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

NOVEMBER 12, 2013 – 7:30 PM



3/27/2005: Michigan State 94 KENTUCKY 88 2 OT*
*NCAA Regional Finals, Austin Texas

It has been eight years since Patrick Sparks hit a three pointer to force overtime against Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans, but the pain of the last meeting is still real for the Big Blue Nation.  It is kind of  a shame that Kentucky and Michigan State do not play more, but with the renewal of the State Farms Champions Classic, the two teams are set to meet every three years, at least.

The one constant has been Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Izzo is 4-2 against Kentucky, but two of those wins were in regional finals (1999,2005), so Izzo has quite a bit to do with UK’s drought from Final Fours which John Calipari ended in 2011.  You would think that Calipari and Izzo would have played more as well, but they have just met once  and that was in the Sweet 16 in 2009 and Calipari’s Tigers blew out the Spartans.

Calipari and Izzo have waged recruiting battles since Cal arrived at Kentucky, however.  Izzo got the early lead with Gary Harris and Adreian Payne, but Calipari has dominated lately, getting commitments from Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker.  So there is some sort of rivalry here, both historically and in recruiting, so Izzo and the Spartans seem pretty familiar even though it’s been 8 years since an actual meeting.

There really is no way to hype this game more.  It’s Kentucky vs Michigan State.  It’s Calipari vs Izzo.  It’s #1 versus #2.  With that said, let’s meet the Spartans.

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