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Bluegrass Memories - Spartantiques Collectors Corner

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Looking back at the Michigan State basketball rivalry with Adolph Rupp and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Today’s Collectors Corner features programs from the Michigan State Spartans versus Kentucky Wildcats series featuring battles with “The Baron of the Blugrass”, Adolph Rupp, in anticipation of the Madison Square Garden showdown in the Champions Classic. The Wildcats lead this closely contested all-time series 13-11, and there have been memorable moments for both teams through the years.

1948 Kentucky at Michigan State

1948 Game Program
Spartantiques Collection

The largest crowd in the Jenison Fieldhouse history witnessed former Kentucky All-American Bob Brannum, now playing for Ben VanAlstyne and the Spartans against his former coach and teammates. After exiting the transfer portal in East Lansing, Brannum was elected team captain after three games. Rupp brought a Dream Team into East Lansing that would comprise the USA Olympic Basketball Team in London. Despite Brannum’s 23 point performance, the Wildcats scratched out a 47-45 victory on their way to the 1948 NCAA title.

1948 Game Lineup
Spartantiques Collection

1957 Michigan State at Kentucky NCAA Midwest Finals

1957 Game Program
Spartantiques Collection

Michigan State Basketball has made 33 NCAA Tournament appearances, but there first dance was a tall order for Forddy Anderson and the 1957 Spartans. Champions of the Big Ten, they were sent to the Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. After defeating Notre Dame in a squeaker, 85-83, MSU faced Rupp on his home court. The Spartans trailed 47-35 at half time. Star center Johnny Green (14 points) fouled out of the game with the score tied 58-58. What followed was a heroic effort, led by Jack Quiggle’s 22 points, that saw MSU score 13 of the last 15 points in a 80-68 victory for the Green and White and a trip to their first Final Four.

1957 Program Roster
Spartantiques Collection

1971 Michigan State at Kentucky

1971 Game Program
Spartantiques Collection

In his 41st and final season as Kentucky coach, Rupp and his 7th ranked Wildcats hosted an unranked Michigan State team now coached by Gus Ganakas. The undersized Spartans, led by Mike Robinson (32 points) and Bill Kilgore (22 points), stunned Kentucky 91-85. The all time victory leader (when he retired) finished with an 8-6 record against the Michigan State Spartans.

1971 MSU Scouting Report
Spartantiques Collection

Framing The Issue

Who doesn’t appreciate beautifully framed sports memorabilia? If you have the wall space and the budget, most sports treasures are more impressive placed under glass. I have a personal exceptions to this rule. I never permanently frame programs.

The ability to hold, open and view the lineups, articles, and photographs far outweighs the permanency of creating a decorative curio. As an alternative, I’d suggest framing reprints, color copies, or lesser condition duplicates that look strikingly similar and save your prized copy where it can be properly referenced and enjoyed. What do you think?

Autograph Opportunity

Jay Vincent will be signing autographs at the Muskegon Area Sportscard Show at the VFW Hall, 5209 Grand Haven Road, Norton Shores, on Saturday, November 9 from 11am - 2pm. Autographs are $15.

1978 “Jay Vincent” Autographed Program
Spartantiques Collection