Kentucky meets Michigan State Tuesday night in Chicago in a titanic early season battle of traditional powerhouses, which also happens to be a clash between the top two teams in the country. It is too early to know much about how this one might go, but here are some quick points from the BBL.
As expected, we think Randle is going to be the engine for this Kentucky team and a definite POY candidate. This team is so deep and talented that a lot of high ceiling players arent even going to see the floor this year. Cal is regularly a 6-7 man rotation guy and we expect that rotation to end up being Harrison twins/Young/Randle/Poythress/WCS. Other kids will get situational minutes of course, but barring surprise, this means that Johnson and Lee will be back next year to bolster a pretty stout incoming class. (As much as the BBL hates it, part of life in this one and done era is to be talking about or referencing next year already when we are only 2 games into this season.)
From an Xs and Os standpoint, it is too early to predict accurately what might happen Tuesday night. The BBL thinks a big factor is how Kentucky shoots from beyond the three point arc and from the foul stripe. Tom Izzo teams are always strong inside and play physical. Early season games between powerhouse teams are also usually sloppy. So we wouldnt be shocked if there were a lot of fouls, whistles and stoppages of play. This greatly favors MSU, since they have seniors and are comfortable in a slow, plodding slog of a basketball game.
That said, this will be a talent mismatch, and that is laughable to say about a 1 vs 2 matchup. Kentucky should be able to overcome youth with raw firepower and keep this game close. But we are simply not able to confidently call this a UK win. It is too early in the season and there is no way to know if this group of pups will come together.
The good news is, it doesnt really matter. In the grand scheme of things, just playing in a game of this caliber vs a Final Four contender will be valuable for UK's kids. We hope Kentucky can pull it out but a team that starts 4 freshman will probably lose a few here and there. There would be no shame if this is one of them.go back