VAUGHT: Tubby seemed unhappy with Sparks

Sparks was only 1-for-5 from the field against Utah Friday and he's going to face bigger, more athletic defenders in Sunday's game than he did against Utah. He's also going to see a lot more of them because the Spartans have far better depth.

Kentucky better count on beating Michigan State without a huge game from guard Patrick Sparks.

Sparks was only 1-for-5 from the field against Utah Friday and he's going to face bigger, more athletic defenders in Sunday's game than he did against Utah. He's also going to see a lot more of them because the Spartans have far better depth.

Michigan State held Duke's highly-touted guard duo of Daniel Edwin and J.J. Redick to 11-for-27 shooting in Friday's 78-68 win.

Sparks has now played in five NCAA Tournament games -- three at Kentucky and two at Western Kentucky. In those five games, he's 13-for-41 from the field and only 8-for 32 from 3-point range. Half of his 3-point goals came in this year's second round win over Cincinnati.

So what's wrong?

"I don't know. Nothing that I know of," Sparks said.

Apparently Kentucky coach Tubby Smith has other ideas. He was not happy with Sparks' floor game or defensive play against Utah. Or at least that's the way it seemed based on how Smith reacted to Sparks' play.

"I don't know what happened," Sparks said when asked what Smith said to him when he took him out early in Friday's win. "I can't really remember."

The good news for Kentucky is that Ramel Bradley, Ravi Moss and Joe Crawford all hit shots against Utah. While Bradley and Crawford are freshmen still learning what NCAA pressure is all about, Moss is becoming a veteran. He's now 6-for-8 from the field and 5-for-6 from 3-point range in UK's last four tournament games.

Moss took a nasty fall late in Friday's win as he blocked a shot, but said it was just a bruise and nothing that would bother him against Michigan State.

"I'll be fine and ready to do whatever it takes to help us win," Moss said.

Based on Sparks' NCAA woes, that's good news because odds are UK is going to need productive play from Moss against State's athletic perimeter players to validate its Final Four ticket.


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