• My Scores
  • NFL
  • NCAA BB
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • MLB

NCAA 2015

March Madness

Get the latest March Madness news >>

Play Bracket Games
Jerry Palm Predictions
Conference Tournaments
Play Now! Bracketology See all the brackets

Kentucky vs Michigan State

Time: 07:30 P.M. EST
  •  

Kentucky is the top-ranked team in the country, but coach John Calipari wants to test his young Wildcats.

Tom Izzo regularly does that to Michigan State.

In the earliest meeting between the nation's top two teams, the Wildcats and the No. 2 Spartans may already be looking toward March on Tuesday night in Chicago as they face each other for the first time in eight years.

Kentucky (2-0) has had little trouble to start this season, winning two games by an average of 31.0 points after routing Northern Kentucky 93-63 on Sunday.

The Wildcats hit 54.5 percent from the floor while holding a 51-23 rebounding advantage over the clearly overmatched Norse.

Doing that against Michigan State seems highly unlikely.

Like Kentucky, the Spartans dominated in every facet Friday, winning 98-56 over McNeese State in their season opener. They scored 52 points in the first half and finished with a 66-29 edge on the boards.

Calipari is planning on using this meeting with Michigan State as a learning experience for his team, which includes six freshmen who are possible lottery picks in next summer's NBA draft.

"It's a hard game to play this early," he said. "This is not like you're going to steal, sneak by. You're going to have to ball.

"For us, it's just a bar of where we are right now. We've got a long way to go. ... We're still trying to figure out how to play fast, how to get in the lane, how to post up, how to cut. Trying to figure out defensively how we need to play. We're still not right."

Julius Randle certainly looks fine. The heralded freshman forward, the possible No. 1 overall pick next June, has totaled 45 points and 29 rebounds while hitting 12 of 19 field goals.

Still, he's not happy about going 21 for 27 from the line - 10 for 14 on Sunday.

"I'm still missing some opportunities," Randle said. "(There were) a lot of balls I didn't come up with. I just have to learn from it and improve."

Twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison are also off to strong starts to their respective - and likely brief - collegiate careers. The starting guards have combined for 47 points through two games.

Despite Kentucky's inexperience, Izzo is looking forward to the matchup.

"We're going to have some problems with (Kentucky) matching up and they might have some problems with us," he said. "(Kentucky) looks like an NBA team. It's a big, big team. Talented team. Well-coached team. Can't wait.

"No matter what the outcomes of the games are, I think all teams will benefit in some way, shape or form."

Izzo regularly schedules tough opponents in the hopes that it'll pay off come tournament time. This season, Michigan State also faces 12th-ranked North Carolina and Texas.

"It prepares us for the tournament," senior guard Keith Appling said. "A lot of the teams we play in our non-conference season are some of teams that we'll end up playing in the tournament. Or are teams that are similar to these teams we'll be playing. So I feel it helps us out in the long run, and also prepares us for the tough Big Ten season."

Gary Harris is trying to build on his 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists from Friday, while Appling had 11 points, six boards and four assists.

The Spartans could use continued production off the bench from juniors Travis Trice and Branden Dawson, who combined for 23 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists against McNeese State.

Michigan State beat the Wildcats 94-88 in double-overtime of the most recent matchup, which earned the Spartans a spot in the 2005 Final Four.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
Southeastern
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Kentucky17-030-01
Arkansas13-424-616
Texas A&M11-620-946
Ole Miss11-620-1044
LSU10-721-956
Georgia10-719-1034
Vanderbilt8-918-12102
Florida8-915-1578
Alabama7-1017-1391
Tennessee7-1015-1492
S. Carolina5-1214-15103
Miss. State5-1212-18203
Auburn4-1312-18162
Missouri3-149-21200
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Wisconsin15-227-35
Maryland13-425-510
Ohio St.11-622-831
Iowa11-620-1039
Michigan St.11-620-1029
Purdue11-619-1162
Illinois9-819-1158
Indiana9-819-1153
Michigan7-1014-1586
Minnesota6-1117-1381
Northwestern6-1115-15114
Nebraska5-1213-16130
Penn St.3-1415-15127
Rutgers2-1510-20160

Related Video

 
 
 
 
Other Games
SC 64 Final
BAYL 66
HOFS 69 Final
LOU 97
GRAM 71 Final
MU 114
SCUP 59 Final
MICH 93
VCU 59 Final
UVA 56
FORD 74 Final
SYR 89
OHIO 69 Final
OHST 79
UTVA 40 Final
OKST 93
OAK 60 Final
UCLA 91
FLA 53 Final
WISC 59
DUKE 83 Final
KAN 94