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What they’re saying about Kentucky’s win over Michigan State

© Brad Penner | Getty

© Brad Penner | Getty

© Brad Penner | Getty

The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy: “Kentucky’s stud freshmen show they can turn it up against likes of Michigan State

What will the offense become? Yes, the Wildcats beat Michigan State easily. But several components of the promised attack were not involved in this game. Not even remotely. Senior Derek Willis, a stretch-4 type of forward, did not attempt a shot in the first half and had only one for the game.  Center Bam Adebayo, the expected post presence there to draw defenders to the interior so the guards have room to shoot, was 2 of 3 from the field.

Of the team’s 11 first-half baskets, both Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk had five apiece. The starting guards scored 19 of the team’s 23 field goals.

Monk was phenomenal, firing 3-pointers as though he’d been shooting in the Garden his entire life. But Kentucky is going to want to be more varied on offense, and it might not be until they are challenged more sternly than this that Calipari discovers the best design for this particular team.

Remember, he has rearranged the attack of several previous Kentucky teams as the season advanced – at least one time as late as March. We may not know for a while how he’ll best deploy this talented group.

ESPN’s Dick Vitale: “Kentucky’s freshmen are already putting on a show”

Remember, this squad has been together for about a month. It is young, but oh so talented. They play well as a team and Michigan State’s size advantage was a small factor.

This Wildcat club can run, baby, run! They have tremendous athletic ability and go from the defensive end to the offensive end so fast. This has the making of a very special team.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman: “Kentucky looks powerful already”

This wasn’t exactly a typical Michigan State team. Down a couple of frontcourt guys, and forced to start a former walk-on at center, the Spartans were thoroughly overmatched. Kentucky had the clear talent advantage, and just about every other edge one could imagine coming into this game. Even travel. Kentucky played its first two games at Rupp while Michigan State lost a close game Friday night in Hawaii.

This game was never in question, and while normally a 21-point victory over an Izzo-coached team would be cause for celebration, that shouldn’t be the case after this one.

CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander: Freshman Malik Monk finally gets going and Kentucky shows signs it can be great

“The difference in the game was Monk,” Izzo said.

Without a doubt. With Monk’s range, confidence, athletic ability and aggressive mindset, he pushed UK past MSU before halftime came. In the second half, Kentucky was allowed to fail in spots — though those spots were rare. This is one of the best freshman classes Calipari’s ever had, which is saying a lot. The defense is going to show up almost every time. We see now what happens when Monk is in the fold. Kentucky looks more complete, tougher to guard and eminently watchable.

NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster:

It doesn’t take a physicist to figure out that the Achilles’ heel for this team is going to be their perimeter shooting, the same way that it was for the 2010 team. And on the nights when Monk gets hot from deep, this is the result that you’re going to get. When he gets rolling like this, Monk has ‘gravity’. Defenses have to adjust to his presence on the floor. He pulls help defenders out of position, he creates driving lanes for the likes of Fox and Briscoe and, eventually, it will create space for Bam Adebayo, Isaac Humphries and the rest of Kentucky’s front court in the paint.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas:

Adam Zagoria: Isaiah Briscoe Showing You Don’t Have to Be One-and-Done to Succeed at Kentucky

But Isaiah Briscoe is proving that if you stay at Kentucky, you can improve from one year to the next and become an effective program player.

Playing in front of 38 family and friends and a capacity crowd that included Knicks star and Briscoe’s mentor Carmelo Anthony, the Newark native went for 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 turnover as No. 2 Kentucky throttled No. 13 Michigan State, 69-48, in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

11 Comments for What they’re saying about Kentucky’s win over Michigan State

    11:12 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    Maybe I am the only one who was not all that impressed with UK last night. The guards are not doing enough to get others involved. Briscoe (18 shots) took contested shots all night, Fox(10 shots) and Monk (17 shots) took their share of bad shots as well. Wenyen (2 shots), Willis (1shot), Bam (3 shots) and Humphries (3 shots) were basically just bystanders. I mean where is the balance?. They need to be involved on the offensive end as well. And we wonder why we got out rebounded, the bigs are not getting any shots and they watch the guards take contested shots against 3 people. Like Shaq once said, if you don’t feed the dog then he won’t guard the yard. Cal needs to talk to his guards about taking good shots and getting the bigs involved in the game.

    • BigBlueMeade
      11:36 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      Willis passed up a few open threes. Last night was the big guys realizing who was hot last night and feeding that hand. Monk and Briscoe, and on the break Fox.

    • ukjaybrat
      11:40 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      the game plan against msu all along was that the offense would live and die through briscoe, monk, and fox. i would say it worked out perfectly. that won’t be the gameplan for every team. but against MSU we matched up doing exactly that the entire game because they had zero guard play that could stop us. Their best player was miles bridges, feeding the ball inside just gives him the opportunity to defend.

      In football, when the other team has a lockdown defender, you throw the ball on the other side of the field. Same principal here.

    • ukjaybrat
      11:42 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      but yes, to be fair, bam did not necessarily impress me. But to be fair, it was the third game and he is still transitioning to he game. college ball is so much different than high school for a big, not to mention the adjustments officials have made to calling it much closer in the paint. He will be fine.

  2. UKFaninNY
    11:19 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    NBA Scouts weren’t impressed with Bam (Neither was I)

    • WeareBBN
      11:54 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

      Bam will be fine. It is his 3rd game. Nobody was impressed with Monk the 1st 2 games. They are Freshman and will be up and down, we just hope as the season moves along they lessen the down games and we win the title.

  3. ClutchCargo
    11:36 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    It’s mid-November and I love the defensive ability of this team. There’s nothing wrong with this bunch that can’t and won’t be fixed as the season goes along.

    • Luether
      1:29 pm November 16, 2016 Permalink

      Agree! Need to rebound better also…

  4. FatSparxxx
    11:45 am November 16, 2016 Permalink

    Check us out

  5. 2thepoint
    12:31 pm November 16, 2016 Permalink

    Bam’s problem is he has to adjust to being so physical and not committing fouls. That is it! He hit his free throws. Passes were not coming to him when they should have been. It isn’t just Bam that is affecting his game. As the season progresses his understanding will improve and refs will back off some of the touch fouls. If he was in the NBA most of his fouls would not have been called. As the season goes along passes will be more on time and his score will be better. He must learn to flop a bit too which will give him more room to move.

    Keep in mind Doug Shows was one of the refs last night. I thought he did pretty good overall, but he was one of the refs. The game before was no other than that jerk who gave the 2nd tech to Cal at SC last year. Not blaming him either for Bam’s fouls, but those two are whistle blowers every game.

  6. Kevin C
    12:38 pm November 16, 2016 Permalink

    Someone should tell Adam Zagoria that Briscoe isn’t the first UK player under Cal who stayed after their freshman year and still “succeeded”.