Standing O Sports

#1 Kentucky vs. #2 Michigan State Preview/Prediction

courtesy: kentucky.com

After an opening weekend of mostly warmup games for the best college basketball teams in the country, tonight is the night that fans have been waiting.

#1 Kentucky will face off against #2 Michigan State at the United Center in Chicago in what should be a great test for both teams.

Roster

These two teams could not be built more differently.

Michigan State is led by two terrific seniors in Keith Appling and Adreian Payne while Kentucky starts four freshmen and a sophomore.

MSU starts Appling at point guard, sophomore stud Gary Harris at shooting guard, Denzel Valentine on the wing, Matt Costello at forward and Payne at center.

Kentucky starts Andrew and Aaron Harrison at the two guard spots, James Young at small forward, Julius Randle at power forward and Willie Cauley-Stein at center.

As far as talent goes, Kentucky is the more talented team. The top three players on each sides is pretty equal but Kentucky has more depth and talent on the bench. Not many teams can bring multiple McDonald’s All-Americans off the bench.

MSU is the smarter team, but Kentucky makes up for its lack of IQ with elite athleticism across the board.

Matchup To Watch

Adreian Payne vs. Julius Randle

Payne and Randle may be the two best big men in the country. Even though Randle has only played in two collegiate games, it’s pretty clear that this guy is the real deal. Payne is a proven commodity, and man is he good. Both of these bigs can play on the block and step out behind the 3-point line and knock down a trey.

X-Factor

James Young

James Young is the forgotten name in this loaded Kentucky freshmen class, but this dude can ball. He’s a knockdown shooter on the perimeter and may be Kentucky’s best on-ball defender. He’ll most likely be matched up with Gary Harris, and he’ll have to hold his own for Kentucky to have a chance tonight. Young is more than capable of doing this, and MSU may not have an answer for him on the defensive end of the court.

Prediction

courtesy: Bleacher Report

courtesy: Bleacher Report

At the end of the day, Kentucky is a more talented team that Michigan State. The individual matchups across the board are all relatively even, but Kentucky has way more horse power coming off the bench. In the NCAA Tournament, veteran leadership is key. Early in the season, it’s more about talent, and that’s why Kentucky will prevail tonight.

Kentucy 76 Michigan State 65

Follow me on Twitter: @mlukes14

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