In a game in which many people expected to be close, it was. The No. 2 Michigan State Spartans took on the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats in the game that will mean absolutely nothing by the end of the season. While preseason rankings mean nothing, the Spartans proved that they are the best team in the land, and it shouldn’t have even been close.
The talk before, during and after the game had been about the freshman at the Champions Classic event in Chicago. Every team has a top freshman that was highly talked about and coveted by every NBA team out there — except Michigan State. Kentucky has Julius Randle and James Young, the Duke Blue Devils have Jabari Parker and the Kansas Jayhawks have Andrew Wiggins. Who does Michigan State have? A team.
Sure there are no top freshman playing for the green and white this season, but what does that matter? Gary Harris is expected to be a top draft pick whenever he does decide to go pro and as a sophomore, he’s considered ancient under college basketball‘s standards. How well did the “old” team from Michigan State do? Well, the Spartans took down the mighty freshmen from Kentucky, 78-74 — and it was relatively easy for 30 minutes. The Spartans failed to take advantage of mistakes made by Kentucky left and right, making the game much closer than it should have been.
Following the big win for the new No. 1, what do we hear about? Well, how good Kentucky is going to be in a couple months, of course. Not about how good Michigan State already is.
So, I’m assuming Michigan State won because of its experience, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.
In case no one knows this, the Spartans lineup is filled with four and five star players. Guys who decided to stick around because their college experience and degree is important to them — who knew?
Harris scored 20 points not because he’s experienced one more year than Kentucky players, but because he’s actually a good basketball player. Keith Appling scored 22, grabbed eight rebounds and dished eight assists because he’s experienced? Nope, it’s because he’s talented. Adriean Payne scored 15 points because he is so much older than everyone else? How about the fact that he turned down the NBA Draft to stay for his senior season. Wait, college basketball still allows seniors to play? Crazy thought. Branden Dawson scored eight and grabbed nine rebounds because he’s been there before? Not a chance, he’s one of the best offensive rebounders and athletes in the nation.
I guess you can call this team with two seniors experienced and chock this victory up to that aspect of their game, but the talent that each of those guys possess is as much as any other team in the nation.
Sorry, ‘experts’, Michigan State won because of talent, not experience.