Tomorrow night is the first big test of the season. How will this young Kentucky team play under the lights vs. an elite opponent like Michigan State? John Calipari says you’ll know in the first five minutes exactly where this team is at this point in the season.
“This may be beyond us right now,” Cal said. “We’ll find out. We’re gonna walk in and you’ll probably find out in the first five to seven minutes, go, either, ‘Ah, they can play with these guys,’ or you’re gonna go in there and say, ‘Those dudes are men. Our guys are going to be okay, but right now they’re not up to this.’ You’ll probably say that in the first five minutes. One or the other.”
How does Calipari think his team will respond?
“I have no idea. I said last night, they may pee down their leg. I have no idea,” Cal said. “Okay, lights are on, you’re at Madison Square Garden, it’s a nationally televised game, everybody’s watching. It’s like a presidential debate, everybody’s watching it. Okay, how do you do now? Can you make a shot? Can you make a free throw? Can you think?”
Calipari does know what to expect from Michigan State, who is ranked 13th in the latest AP poll after losing their opener to #10 Arizona.
“Physical play. They fly up and down the court. They set great screens. Offensive rebound, they absolutely jam you in the back and they’re coming. There’s no, let me try to get around you. It’s mush-mouth around that goal and they go for balls. They play like his teams play,” Cal said. “You know they’re going to play tough, they’re going to be physical. You know they’re going to rebound. You know they’re going to fly up and down the court.”
Kentucky’s biggest challenge will be containing Miles Bridges, the five-star small forward who picked the Spartans over the Cats a year ago.
“Miles Bridges is legitimate one of the better players in the country,” Calipari said. “Physically, skill wise, he’s a big body with guard skills. Not afraid, he’s Tom’s kind of player too. He’s gritty, he’s tough. He’s good. He’s good.”
Calipari then went into a lengthy rant about recruiting, which I’ll tell you about in just a few minutes…