The college basketball season is just one day away as a heavyweight clash between the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats and No. 1 Michigan State Spartans will tip-off at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.
Despite being ranked as the two top teams in the country, both the Wildcats and Spartans have injury concerns heading into the Champions Classic.
The Wildcats may be without starting center Nick Richards who suffered an ankle sprain in their preseason victory over Georgetown College.
As for Michigan State star guard, Joshua Langford who averaged 15 points per game last season is out with foot problems and may pursue a redshirt season.
However, there is some good news for the Spartans as fifth-year senior Kyle Ahrens is expected to play, Tom Izzo told Detroit News. However, it remains to be seen how much Ahrens will play Tuesday.
“I’m going to manage it by talking to Kyle,” Izzo said. “See how he feels and how he plays, but God, he had a hell of a summer. I mean, he was really, really good and if you saw the injury, the way it happened, he was running out of bounds and there was nobody near him.”
Ahrens suffered a high ankle sprain during Michigan State’s preseason scrimmage against Gonzaga on October 19th. He played just under 19 minutes per game last season, averaging 4.7 points per game and 2.5 rebounds.
With Langford out, Ahrens provides the Spartans with much-needed depth at the guard position. He may not score a lot, but Ahrens is a great defender who will make life harder on the young Wildcats in New York.
The battle between top-ranked Michigan State and second-ranked Kentucky is scheduled for 9:30 Tuesday evening on ESPN.