College Basketball Picks: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Michigan State Spartans, Champions Classic Preview

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Michigan State Spartans
Tuesday, 11/12/13, 7:30 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Michigan State -2
Current Betting Line:  Michigan State -3
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Michigan State Spartans are 3-19 SU all-time against the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 Poll
The Michigan State Spartans are 3-19 SU all-time against the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 Poll

Kentucky has won its first two games of the 2013-14 campaign, including an 89-57 home victory over UNC Asheville, with four freshmen in the starting lineup in each of those affairs.  The Wildcats have started four first-year players 137 times in their history, with 98 of those coming under current head coach John Calipari, which is important to consider when making your college basketball predictions Tuesday night.  Freshman forward Julius Randle leads the team in scoring, averaging 22.5 points and 15.0 rebounds per game.

The Wildcats are the first team in the 22-year history of the AP Poll to begin a season No. 1 after finishing the previous season unranked, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college basketball betting lines.  Kentucky is out-rebounding its opponents by a 50-27 margin having logged 48 or more in both games this season.  The program owns a 97-57 all-time record against the Big Ten Conference, including a 12-10 mark in this particular series.  Calipari has compiled a 62-8 SU record as the top-ranked coach in the country.

Michigan State opened up its season with a 98-56 blowout victory over McNeese State last Friday, as it prepares for the first meeting of No. 1 and No. 2 on the hardwood since 2008 at the United Center in Chicago.  The Spartans have played more ranked teams than any other Final Four participant since 1998, while going 1-1 in the first two years of the Champions Classic.  The program is 3-19 SU all-time when playing the top-ranked team in the country.

The Spartans are known for controlling the boards, as they’ve out-rebounded 77.3 percent of their opponents under longtime head coach Tom Izzo.  Michigan State returns six of its top seven scorers from last season—featuring one of the most experienced rosters to start a new campaign nationally.  Izzo welcomes back 84.2 percent of his scoring, 79.3 percent of his rebounding and 84.0 percent of his assists.

Sports bettors will likely back the Spartans due to their 5-2 ATS mark in their last seven games against SEC opponents.

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