Odds courtesy of 5dimes
The 2013-14 NCAA basketball season will get a triumphant kickstart tonight as the top two teams in the nation square off at the United Center in Chicago. No. 2 Michigan State is a 3.5 point favorite according to college basketball oddsmakers at 5dimes, but those familiar with Kentucky coach John Calipari’s recruiting class know this is a game which could easily go to the underdog Wildcats.
Kentucky looked good in its first two victories, but neither of those were close to the type of test the team will face tonight in Tom Izzo’s squad. Calipari is still attempting to plot out his player rotation, with a talented and deep team which features five of the top 10 recruits in the nation.
The best of those, Julius Randle, leads the team in rebounding with 12.0 boards per game, and he’s expected to be a top-five pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He’s also 12-of-19 from the floor, using his strong 6’9″ frame to barrel inside for easy looks around the rim. Randle said, though, he still “(has) a lot to learn from (it) and improve.”
Michigan State’s star player Keith Appling has worked hard to improve his playmaking for the transition to the NBA, and to increase his overall skill level. Appling said this matchup will prepare the team for the tournament, and also added that it helps them prepare for the tough Big Ten Conference. Appling’s co-star Gary Harris had a nice 20 point, 10 rebound, six assist game on Friday.
The last time the teams met, Michigan State won 94-88 in double overtime. That was in the 2005 Elite Eight. Tonight is a look some eight years later at two teams that may square off in the NCAA final.
Kentucky Trends: UNDER 15-5-3 in last 23 Tuesday games; UNDER 8-3 in last 11 vs Big Ten.
Michigan State Trends: 10-23-2 ATS in last 35 Tuesday games; UNDER 29-13 in last 42 Tuesday games.
Check out our season pick plans for the 2013-14 NCAA basketball season!