But the Spartans have a much greater challenge in store as they head to Indianapolis to take on No. 1 Kansas in the first game of the State Farm Champions Classic.
Not so much Deron Feldhaus.
"With 8 minutes to go, I said, "I'm not calling a timeout".
Based on that performance, a Blue Devils stomping of the Kentucky Wildcats, it's pretty evident that Barrett and Williamson are ready to play in the National Basketball Association - right now. It has been a long time since there has been a senior leader in Lexington, and Travis certainly provides the leadership they've lacked the last few seasons.
The college basketball world will be tuning in to the Champions Classic on Tuesday night as the season tips off in primetime with Michigan State vs. Kansas and Duke vs. Kentucky. "But I'll say that and will probably get more excited than I should", Calipari admitted.
"It's hard because he's a physical player and he puts it up in the ref's hands a lot of the times, as far as the way he's attacking you and he makes it hard to guard without fouling and he puts a lot of pressure at the rim", Travis said about Barrett, who finished 4-for-8 from the free throw line. This is a risky team that should be mentioned in the same breath as Kentucky and Duke, but even Vegas wavers in granting that respect, listing Kansas at +950 to win the 2019 NCAA title.
Calipari and some of his players employed usual platitudes at media day about how Duke will provide Kentucky with a rigorous test, but that they are more concerned with themselves and where they're headed, and that both teams will be totally different come March. We don't do no social media on that. We've just got to see. Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro can knock down shots; however, it seemed to me like we are better built to slow the pace of the game down.
In assessing Kentucky's point guard play against Duke, Calipari mentioned UMass by name. And his he has played extremely well this season with averages of 18 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 assists per game.
Barrett is clearly a better shot-creator (and maker) than both Sexton and Osman, particularly in the isolation situations that Cleveland is so anemic in.
Duke's dominance of Kentucky also added another chapter to Krzyzewski's recent stronghold on the one-and-done talent pool. "Things have changed in the, what, close to 30 years (since 1992), with the one-and-dones". But there were legitimate questions about how well that would translate to the college level, where player are closer to his size, and his strength, and his athleticism.
Sitting at 1-9, the only the team in the league to fail to win more than one game in their first 10 games of the season, it goes without saying that the Cavaliers are one of the worst teams in the league in 2018-19.
"It's 'The Shot, '" Feldhaus said. "I think one of our athletic trainers put it the best". "They were going to show us they were better, and each individual player was going to show our players they were better". The players had splintered, Calipari said Tuesday night. The former Duke star turned his little brother Tre onto the team, and as Tre grew up in the game, he began to amass a dazzling group of friends through playing travel ball.