State Farm Champions Classic
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m. ET
The United Center, Chicago, Ill.
Record: 2-0, 0-0 in SEC
Rankings: No. 1 (AP)/No. 1 (Coaches Poll)
Last Game: Def., Nothern Kentucky, 93-63
Head Coach: John Calipari
Overall On-Court Record: 570-166 (.774)
at UK: 125-26 (.828)
Last Five Games: 2-0
Calipari vs. Michigan State: 1-0
All-Time Series: UK leads 12-10
Michigan STATE SPARTANS:
Record: 1-0, 0-0 in Big 10
Rankings: No. 2 (AP)/No. 2 (Coaches Poll)
Last Game: Def., McNeese State, 98-56
Head Coach: Tom Izzo
Overall On-Court Record: 440-178 (.712)
at Michigan State: 440-178 (.712)
Last Five Games: 1-0
Izzo vs. Kentucky: 4-2
Last Meeting: Michigan State, 94-88, 2OT (3/27/05)
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Kentucky brings a wealth of talent to the United Center with the help of Calipari's fifth-consecutive top-ranked recruiting class, but Michigan State counters with one of the most experienced teams in the country. Sophomore guard Gary Harris (20 points, 10 rebounds) and senior center Adreian Payne (10 points, 10 rebounds), a one-time UK recruit, both recorded double-doubles in the Spartans' season-opening 98-56 win over McNeese State. Will the Wildcats have enough raw talent to back up their No. 1 ranking, or will Izzo's battle-tested squad be too tough for UK this early in the season? That seems to be the biggest storyline going into tonight's matchup, but also keep a close eye on the new rules emphasis, potential foul trouble and free throw shooting for both teams. UK has been shaky at the foul line (65 percent) in its first two games, although it is averaging an eye-popping 43 attempts. The Cats likely cannot afford to be under the 70 percent mark against a team as good as the Spartans, who shot 80 percent at the charity stripe in their opener.
ON THIS DAY IN UK HISTORY:
Kentucky will be playing on Nov. 12 for only the second time in 111 years. The last time the Cats played on this date was an 88-65 win over East Tennessee State at Rupp Arena in 2010. Freshmen Terrence Jones (25 points, 12 rebounds), Doron Lamb (20 points) and Brandon Knight (17 points) powered UK to the win.
• The meeting with No. 2 Michigan State will mark the first time teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 will meet in regular season competition since 2008, and the game will mark the earliest such matchup in Associated Press poll history.
• Kentucky has played as the No. 1 team against the No. 2 team three times in history: the 1966 vs. Duke; 1951 vs. St. John's and 1949 vs. Oklahoma A&M. On three other occasions, UK has been the No. 2 team against a No. 1 team: 1975 vs. UCLA, 1981 vs. North Carolina and 1996 vs. UMass.
• Kentucky has started four freshmen in the starting lineup in both contests this season. UK now has started four freshmen in 137 games, with 98 of those coming in the John Calipari era.
• UK freshman forward Julius Randle enters the matchup having won SEC Player of the Week honors after scoring 45 points and grabbing 30 rebounds in his first two games as a Wildcat.