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Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 3:55 pm  |  12 responses

Kentucky-Michigan State and Duke-Kansas to Face Off in Chicago Tonight


by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33

It’s not often that college basketball has its marquee night during the season’s first week, but due to State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago, four of the top five teams in America will play tonight. No. 1 Kentucky (2-0) will take on No. 2 Michigan State (1-0) at 7:30 p.m., followed by No. 4 Duke (1-0) vs. No. 5 Kansas (1-0) at 9:30 p.m.

The first matchup will be the first time February 24, 2008, when No. 2 Tennessee defeated No. 1 Memphis, who was ironically coached by Kentucky head man John Calipari, 66-62. The two teams haven’t played since 2005, when Michigan State knocked Kentucky out of the NCAA Tournament, 94-88 in two overtimes.

Beyond the fact that John Calipari vs. Tom Izzo could be college basketball’s best coaching matchup this year, it’s quite possible that we’re seeing several future NBA All-Stars in this game. Michigan State’s Adreian Payne and Gary Harris will almost certainly play in the League next year, while Kentucky has its usual bevy of freshmen NBA prospects, headlined by potential top-three pick Julius Randle, James Young, Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison.

Both teams have been dominant so far this season. Kentucky has trounced UNC-Asheville and Northern Kentucky, 89-57 and 93-63, respectively. The Wildcats are led by Randle, who has been a monster this year, averaging a team-high 22.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game. As for the Spartans, they looked fantastic in their matchup with McNeese State, winning 98-56 behind 20 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists from Harris.

The night’s second game features another marquee coaching matchup, with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski facing off against Kansas’s Bill Self. However, all eyes are on the matchup between two freshmen who have been both labeled as (possibly) the next LeBron James—Duke’s Jabari Parker and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins.

Parker, a 6-8 forward from Chicago, shined in Duke’s 111-77 obliteration of Davidson on Friday night, putting up 22 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists on 80 percent shooting for the Blue Devils. Wiggins, a 6-7 guard from Ontario, wasn’t as impressive in the Jayhawks’ 80-63 victory over Louisiana-Monroe, but he did put up a very respectable 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.

The two teams haven’t played since November 23, 2011 at the Maui Invitational. Duke, led by 17 points from both Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee, overcame a double-double from Thomas Robinson to defeat the Jayhawks, 68-61.

Tonight will almost certainly shape the course of the rest of the college basketball season, and could possibly have an impact on the 2014 NBA Draft. Get ready, because tonight is one of college basketball’s biggest regular-season nights of all time.

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  • the_unknown

    a lot of future uneducated millionaires in these two games… should be a good night of college basketball

  • redbeard

    Education has no purpose if it isn’t used for self-betterment. If self-betterment means economic success, so be it.

  • Enigmatic

    Imagine if Jabari Parker had chosen Michigan State over Duke and if Andrew Wiggins had chosen Kentucky over Kansas? That Michigan State-Kentucky game would be 10X crazier than it already is.

  • the_unknown

    true, that’s why i don’t understand the “one and done” rule. these guys clearly have no intentions of getting a degree, why should they have college forced on them if their only goal is to declare for the NBA Draft?

  • Markus437

    I live in canada so Does anyone know if I can watch the Kentucky michigan state game online or on tv? I know The duke Kansas game is being televised but idk about the other

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    so NBA teams have an extra year to scout (makes risking guaranteed millions on teenagers less of a headache), and also gives the NBA some free marketing.
    .
    in other words, “one and done rule” = $

  • redbeard

    To be honest, I wish the NBA and NCAA had a three-year rule. If players stayed in college for three years, you’d have less disciplinary issues and more polished players. It seems to work for the NFL.

  • Enigmatic

    I agree except I think in rare cases if a player is deemed good enough to go straight to the pros by scouts he should be allowed to do so. Like, LeBron didn’t need any college experience, obviously. Kevin Durant would’ve been fine without his year at Texas. And so on.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i don’t support anything that keeps a person from earning an income. sorry, but i find an education to be totally worthless if you are only getting said education for any reason other than it being an education.
    .
    the discipline is great. but the development in the NBA is greater.
    .
    oh, and these guys risking their careers in college (injury) while some other assholes make money off of them hand over fist, does not benefit them in any way shape or form.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    or they could just do what baseball does. let guys enter the draft (baseball you have no choice, you are just entered automatically) without an agent, and then decide if you go pro afterward. — they then have a 3 year minimum in college.

  • Ronnie

    Looking forward to these 2 matchups.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    The rights to both games are held by ESPN

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