The Champions Classic has returned to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and as has been the case every year since 2011, we are set for two titanic clashes between four of the biggest names in college basketball–Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan State.
In last year’s event at Madison Square Garden, Kansas defeated Michigan State 87-74 and Duke defeated Kentucky 79-71.
The Spartans were the only one of the four teams to be unranked at that time, and that will be the case for tonight’s matchup against Kentucky, which will precede Duke’s duel with the defending national champion Jayhawks.
But Michigan State will be going into their showdown with Kentucky with plenty of confidence about their ability to beat Big Blue after coming agonizingly close to an upset of Gonzaga on Saturday.
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Michigan State Spartans Matchup Information and Betting Odds – 2022 Champions Classic
- Kentucky Wildcats (2-0) vs. Michigan State Spartans (1-1)
- Venue & Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Indiana)
- Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2022
- Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- How to Watch Kentucky vs. Michigan State: ESPN
Kentucky vs. Michigan State Odds
Game odds are via FanDuel as of Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 1:25 a.m. ET. Odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites may also appear in this article.
- Kentucky -7.5 (-105)
- Michigan State +7.5 (-115)
- Over 140.5 (-115)
- Under 140.5 (-105)
- Kentucky -315
- Michigan State +250
Will the Wildcats Continue to Produce from the Perimeter?
Tougher tests are to come starting tonight against Michigan State, but Kentucky has hit the ground running even without key personnel.
Big man Oscar Tshiebwe has yet to make his season debut after a minor knee procedure, and point guard Sahvir Wheeler didn’t play in the opener against Howard after re-aggravating a knee injury.
Also, sophomore forward Daimion Collins–who is expected to play against Michigan State–missed the first two games after losing his father recently.
But without all three, Kentucky dispatched Howard 95-63, and they followed with a 77-52 win over Duquesne, with Wheeler returning against the Dukes and recording 11 points, six rebounds, and 11 assists.
Three-point shooting was a big key in both wins. Against Howard, the Wildcats made 11 of 24 threes, and they were 11 of 19 from three against Duquesne.
Illinois State transfer Antonio Reeves (20.0 PPG) was 6 for 12 from three against Howard and kept it going against Duquesne, going 4 for 6. And CJ Fredrick (17.0 PPG), who missed all of last season after transferring from Iowa, is 6 for 12 from deep so far.
Can Michigan State cool them off? Gonzaga shot just 22.2 percent from three (4 for 18) against the Spartans, while Northern Arizona hit only 8 of their 30 perimeter attempts (26.7 percent).
Kentucky vs. Michigan State Prediction and Picks
Kentucky vs. Michigan State Prediction: Kentucky to win
Kentucky vs. Michigan State Picks: Kentucky to cover (Best Value: -6.5 @ -115 at BetMGM) & Kentucky team total over (Best Value: over 73.5 @ -122 at BetRivers)
Michigan State has the worst record in the Champions Classic, winning just four of their 11 games. That includes two losses in two games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, an 81-71 loss to Duke in 2014 and a 92-87 loss to Kansas in 2018.
Can the Spartans even manage to score 71 points against the Wildcats? A lack of consistent production on the offensive end plagued Michigan State in each of the past two seasons, contributing to back-to-back 13-loss campaigns.
There’s only so much that should be taken from the first few games, but early returns indicate that those issues could very well bite them again this season.
In their season-opening 73-55 win over Northern Arizona, they shot only 44.6 percent from the field, made only 9 of 27 from three, and went to the free-throw line just eight times.
In their Armed Forces Classic contest against the Bulldogs, the Spartans shot only 40.4 percent from the field and made just three treys in 16 attempts. And while they had 28 attempts from the charity stripe, they made only 18 (64.3 percent). That is rather glaring in a one-point loss.
Defensively, Michigan State should never be counted out and could certainly give Kentucky fits.
But I don’t trust that they will be able to find the offense to win this game if Kentucky scores in the 70s, which they should even if Oscar Tshiebwe either remains sidelined or is unable to play many minutes.
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