By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
Kentucky coach John Calipari maintains a close friendship with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and admires his program.
The Wildcats are 1-1 against the Spartans in the prestigious Champions Classic going into Tuesday night’s game in New York.
Michigan State defeated the Wildcats 78-73 six years ago in Chicago and UK defeated Izzo’s squad 69-48 in 2016 at Madison Square Garden.
“I respect the fact that he is not only about Michigan State, but he’s about the kids and about the game. If there is anything that needs to be done to make the game better or for kids, he’s all-in,” Calipari said Sunday.
“He also speaks his mind, which I appreciate and I think he and I are at the age at this point, you kind of say things you wish you didn’t say, but you say them any way.
“As a basketball coach, you know he’s as good as they get and his teams … it’s the same deal. They’re not going to beat themselves. You’re going to have to have a heck of a game to have a chance to win, just because of how they play, how they defend and how tough they are.
“All this stuff, we try to teach these young guys and it just takes a lot of time to do it.”
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Gametracker: Kentucky vs. Michigan State, Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. TV/Radio: ESPN, UK Radio Network.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.