How to beat Kentucky basketball schedule
Posted On July 17, 2021
KENTUCKY — If you can avoid a Kentucky-Michigan State rivalry on Monday night, you might be able to avoid a week of the college basketball schedule.
The Wildcats have won four straight since their Feb. 26 visit to Michigan State and they are a game away from an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament.
Kentucky is also favored to reach the NCAA tourney and to finish the regular season atop the nation with a 21-1 record.
That includes a win over the No. 1 seed Michigan State on Sunday night.
That’s the only way Kentucky could avoid a rematch with the Spartans, but the Wildcats are looking for a third straight win.
The Wildcats are favored by 6.7 points in the first four games of the season.
Kentuckians coach John Calipari said Saturday he has no problem playing his team in front of his home crowd if they are playing well.
Caliparo said Kentucky would be in good shape to play the Spartans on Monday.
“I’d rather play our best team than the team we are playing now,” Caliparian said.
“The difference is our team is playing really well and I think we’ve done a good job of building that confidence in each other, in our group of guys, and in our team that’s been a good thing.”
Calipari has played his teams in front-of-the-court games at Ohio State and Purdue and his team has played well against Kentucky and other top-10 teams.
The last time Kentucky and Michigan State met in a regular season game was at the Final Four in 1996, when Kentucky defeated Michigan State 82-66 in the Elite Eight.
Kentucks guard Tyus Jones had 13 points in that game, while Michigan State guard Aaron Craft had 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Spartans had a strong start to the season, winning 10 of their first 12 games and winning six of seven.
Calimarian is coming off a win against his alma mater, Michigan, on Sunday, when he led the Spartans to a 71-60 win.
Kentucky won the next two games and won the season series on the road with a 65-53 win at home on Jan. 19.
Kentucky has won its last two games against Michigan and is 5-1 against the Wolverines in the series.
“We can’t do anything about it, so it’s all about just getting through it and coming out with a victory and hopefully it’s a good experience for everyone involved,” CalIPARI said.
Kentivians coach Mark Few has had some tough games against top-tier teams.
He was 1-8 against the top-12 teams in the country when the Spartans played Kentucky in 2011-12 and lost to Kentucky, 59-57, on March 25, 2014.
The next year, Few beat Michigan State in a game that was close, 52-49, in overtime and had a victory in overtime that could have put Michigan State ahead.
Michigan State won that game 62-52, and Few’s team went on to win the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s just that kind of team that is just going to have to go out and play well,” Calippari said.