When SEC play began back last month, many fans circled tonight's game as one of perhaps three potential roadblocks to the Kentucky Wildcats running through the conference unbeaten. The other two were Vanderbilt (a 69-63 win) and at Florida (March 4). A road trip to Starkville is never easy, and frankly begs the question of why ANYONE would want to go to Starkville, Mississippi in the first place! But I digress...
Tonight's game against Mississippi State does cause concern for the Cats despite the fact that MSU is coming off three straight losses to significantly lesser SEC foes. Of course, we know home crowds are always amped when the Wildcats come calling, and even more so given they are the top-ranked team in the nation. Then there is Rick Stansbury-an able coach, decent recruiter, but a guy that likes to agitate things and showed a serious lack of class when speaking about former Bulldog and current Wildcat Twany Beckham. Apparently Stansbury holds a grudge and is still a little steamed about Beckham leaving the train wreck that was MSU basketball last season and transferring to a real basketball school. Stansbury's comments were a great insight into the jealousy that pervades other programs when it comes to John Calipari and Kentucky basketball, but more than that, they showed what a jerk Rick Stansbury is.
On paper, Kentucky should win the game handily, and the folks in Vegas think that's what will happen seeing they installed UK as 9.5 point favorites. I think that's a little high, and I see UK having to win a grind-it-out sort of game similar to the one in Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs have enough size and talent inside in Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney to give the Cats some trouble, so it will be important for Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones to stay out of foul trouble. I do think Kentucky will win, though, and it would give me great pleasure to see Stansbury and his Bulldogs run out of their own gym simply because their coach can't keep his mouth shut.