Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 at 10:32 am  |  16 responses

Michigan State and Kansas Pick Up Wins In Champions Classic

by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33

College basketball’s biggest night certainly lived up to the substantial amount of hype.

At the third annual State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago on Tuesday night, basketball fans saw the game’s future stars face off and shine, as No. 2 Michigan State defeated No. 1 Kentucky, 78-74, and No. 5 Kansas beat No. 4 Duke, 94-83.

The tournament’s first game was fantastic, and featured a matchup of the country’s top two teams for the first time since 2008. Like in ’08, the No. 2 team defeated the John Calipari-led No. 1 team on Tuesday night in what will go down as one of college basketball’s best games of the season.

The Spartans were led by its dynamic backcourt of Keith Appling and Gary Harris. The duo combined for 42 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists and 7 steals, and constantly frustrated Kentucky’s inexperienced guards. Michigan State jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and never looked back, despite Kentucky fighting valiantly, particularly star freshman Julius Randle. The Dallas native showed why he’s a contender to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft with a 27-point, 13-rebound performance.

While the Wildcats were able to make things very interesting, even tying the game with 4:48 left to go, they were unable to overcome their early deficit, and by the time the polls are released next week, Michigan State will almost certainly be the No. 1 team in America.

The second game of the night was just as wild, with Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker both exploding onto the national scene. While Parker had the better night—he had 27 points and 9 rebounds compared to 22 points and 8 rebounds for Wiggins—it was Wiggins’ Jayhawks coming away with the win.

The game was much closer than the score indicated. Much of the game was spent with neither team leading by more than five points until the very end, when Duke needed to start fouling in an attempt to keep the game close. However, behind Wiggins and a 24-point, 9-rebound performance from sophomore forward Perry Ellis, the Jayhawks came out on top.

Both games were fantastic, and college basketball fans should cross their fingers that we see these teams cross paths again sometime later this season.

Related: NBA Players React to Kansas’ Win Over Duke

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  • spit hot fiyah

    i’m trying not to overreact to the first week of college hoops. it is tough

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  • Stepfan Raiford

    Likewise. Was I entertained? Yes, but I’m really, really trying not to put any stock into those games last night. Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke will all look different come March. But, can Perry Ellis get some love though?

  • Vince Gully

    For real. I’m not sold on Perry Ellis as an NBA player. I think he’s too undersized to be an NBA power forward. But damn, that dude just gets it DONE. Maybe he can find a niche like Carl Landry? But that’s all just projecting to the future. I’m just gonna enjoy the season because the level of talent this year in the college ranks is ridiculous.

  • Vince Gully

    Last night was one the few nights where the games and players actually lived up to the hype. All the top guys showed out and showed why they deserve to be lottery picks. Man, the level of talent at the college level is ridiculous this year. I feel like this is going to be one of those years where one guy will have a monster game, then the next week another guy will go “Oh yeah? I can do better” and kill it. Can’t wait to see how Marcus Smart responds. This is gonna be a great year for college hoops!

  • bike

    Looks like the rule changes changed the game for the better. College ball was getting really ugly w/ the hand checking and body slams.
    Parker and Randle are nba ready players. If Wiggins can hit more of those stepback jumpers – he only hit one all night but dam it was slick – he is going to be special.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Refs got to let them play though. All those foul calls, the game felt like it was an eternity.

  • Vince Gully

    Yeah. The end of the Duke-Kansas game was basically a free throw contest. Kinda put a damper on what was until then a free flowing, tightly contested game.

  • spit hot fiyah

    i get the feeling that parker and randle could start for a few nba teams right now

  • spit hot fiyah

    he should definitely get a perry ellis sponsor ship if they still produce sweaters

  • JoeMaMa

    Imagine if Parker, Wiggins, Smart, Randle, and alllllll the other GREAT TALENT stayed 4 years. YES, YES, it won’t happen. But….imagine.
    Time to take the anti-viagra!!!

  • Tarzan Cooper

    parker looks like melo and pierce.
    randle is a bad man in the post.
    wiggins ceiling is cosmologically grand.

  • Yknot

    Randle looked like Z-Bo more athletic lil brother.

  • Lucas

    Things look bright for the Jazz….next year.

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