What to Watch as College Basketball’s Elite Meet in Chicago
Tuesday blesses us with what has become one of the best events in early season college basketball-the State Farm Champions Classic. This year features a #1 vs. #2 matchup, experience versus youth, and, as usual, stars in the making, and hall of fame coaches. Here’s what to watch for.
#1 Duke vs. #2 Michigan State 7pm ESPN
Although the rankings might not mean much yet, this is the most anticipated game of the young college basketball season. Duke, with Coack K fresh off his 1,000th career victory at the helm of the Blue Devils, features freshman Marvin Bagley III who recorded double-doubles in his first two collegiate games against Elon and Utah Valley. He will face his toughest test yet and maybe the toughest of his season against the Michigan State Spartans and Player of the Year candidate, sophomore, Miles Bridges who had a double-double in his season opener against North Florida. The game will likely be decided by each team’s supporting cast which had struggles of their own leading up to this game. Duke will look to find scoring from outside their starting-five, while Michigan State will need to take care of the ball and shoot better from 3.
My Prediction: Michigan State 84 Duke 78
#7 Kentucky vs. #4 Kansas 9:30pm ESPN
After surviving two scares against Utah Valley and Vermont, a Kentucky team of star-studded freshman will not get a break as they are set to do battle with Kansas in Chicago on Tuesday. Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington lead John Calipari’s Wildcats into the first big game of their careers. On the other side, Kansas has experience in the form of senior guard Devonte Graham. Graham stuffed the stat sheet against Tennessee State with 10 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals. Although Frank Mason has since departed, Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman will look to provide Graham with some help against the Cats. It’s a battle of youth versus experience and we can’t wait to watch.
My Prediction: Kansas 79 Kentucky 71