Kentucky's Olivier Sarr (30) dunks near Richmond's Nathan Cayo (4) and Grant Golden (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Champions Classic Hosts Big Matchups

The buzz of the shot-clock, the beautiful sound of a clean swish. These sounds will be more prominent with the absence of fans at the State Farm Champions Classic. Four of some of the top teams in the country will meet tonight. Michigan State will take on Duke, followed by Kentucky versus Kansas. College hoops are back in full swing.

With the talent across these four teams, there is a lot to look at. Here are the key things to keep an eye on during tonight’s matchups.

Duke

The Blue Devils have a history of talented players. Jalen Johnson and DJ Steward may be the next in line. The two were instrumental in Duke’s season-opening win over Coppin State.

Johnson posted 19 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Steward, off the bench, added 24 points, leading the team in scoring, and nine rebounds.

https://twitter.com/overtime/status/1332791214429659137

These two are just freshmen. Duke fans and coaches alike probably like what they see in these young men. If these two continue their success tonight, things bode well for the Blue Devils in the Champions Classic.

Michigan State

The Spartans have already played two games the season and have already claimed two wins. Their first came over East Michigan and then Notre Dame. Joey Hauser and Aaron Henry have been a big part of the team’s early success.

Hauser had 10 points, four assists and ripped down 16 rebounds in their win over Notre Dame. Henry had 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Both of these young men are on the watchlist for major awards this season.

https://twitter.com/MSU_Basketball/status/1333840440051712000

Head coach Tom Izzo will look to these two to continue success tonight. Izzo, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, spoke to the media about his recovery Monday.

Izzo says he is ready to go and comments on preparing to face Coach K and the Blue Devils. He believes they have a good team this year and is excited that the team can get back on the court for the Champions Classic.

Kentucky

The Wildcats come into the Champions Classic with a 1-1 record. The team’s last game was a loss to Richmond on Sunday. Kentucky went 0 for 10 from the three-point arc and had 21 turnovers.

After an ugly performance, they will be looking to bounce back with a big win over Kansas. To do that the Wildcats will need to lean on players like BJ Boston, who leads the team in scoring with 17.5 points per game.

Head coach John Calipari acknowledges that the road ahead is challenging. He will have to have a lot of patience with his young team. This year’s squad is made of players that have never played a minute in a Kentucky uniform prior to this season.

Kansas

Sophomore Christian Braun had a sensational performance for the Jayhawks against St. Joseph’s. He dropped 30 points, pulled down nine rebounds and had three assists. This win comes after the Jayhawks’ season opener loss to Gonzaga.

Senior Marcus Garrett is another player to keep an eye on. He shows consistency on offense but is regarding by many as one of the best defensive players in the country.

https://twitter.com/KUHoops/status/1331773667848515586

Head coach Bill Self spoke to the media about how the team just wants to play this year and that they know it will be a season of ups and downs.

COVID-19 has affected college hoops and there is no doubt it will continue to. But these teams have the opportunity to play and they are excited about these big matchups. We are excited to watch.

Duke and Michigan State play at 7:30, while Kentucky and Kansas play at 9:30. For the live TV broadcast, tune in to ESPN.

About Tyler Adams

Check Also

LIVE THREAD: National Signing Day

Here’s an updated thread of all the recruits who picked the Gator hat today! RB …

AFC Divisional Round Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

During last weekend’s NFL Wild Card round, the Steelers made a statement by handing the Dolphins a …

Houston Looking For an Upset in Foxborough

The saying has always been “it’s hard to beat a good team twice,” and in …

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Tonight

The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Tampa Bay Lightning will be facing each other once …

Possible Additions to McElwain’s Recruiting Class Visiting this Weekend

With National Signing Day less than three weeks away, the Gators are hosting several talented …

Florida Gymnastics Prepares for Season Opener

GAINESVILLE, FL – The Florida Gator gymnastics team will kick off their season this Sunday …

Surprised Gators Promote Randy Shannon To Defensive Coordinator? You Shouldn’t Be

Florida’s head coach, Jim McElwain, announced Friday morning that Randy Shannon would be making the …

Quarterbacks in Spotlight for NFL Wild Card Weekend

The NFL Wild Card kicks off Saturday and the quarterback situations could not be any more different. On …

College Football Playoff Shakes Up Schedule

The College Football Playoff was a success in its first year. Yet, that doesn’t stop …

Michael Jordan Speaks out about Shootings, Police Officers

NBA great Michael Jordan opened up about his thoughts about shootings of African-Americans and the …

Treon Harris to Transfer

With the college football season approaching, the Florida Gators have announced that former starting QB …

USA Basketball Wins Second Exhibition Game

Just a few short days after their big win over Argentina, team USA won its …

Charlotte Is No Longer The Home Of The 2017 NBA All-Star Game

The House Bill 2 came between Charlotte, North Carolina and the 2017 All-Star Game. The …

Tampa Bay Rays Continue Series Against Oakland

The Tampa Bay Rays are continuing their three-game winning streak. The Rays defeated the Oakland …

MLB Preview Tonight

It’s summer time—the best time to go to a baseball game and experience the atmosphere. …

Braves Begin Series With Rockies

The Atlanta Braves (33-62) open up a four-game road series with the Rockies (43-51) tonight …

Marlins To Close Out Series With The Phillies

The Miami Marlins are in the middle of a crucial ten game span against NL East …

Rays Crush Rockies 11-3, Face A’s Next

In the midst of a terrible season that has seen the Tampa Bay Rays (37-57) …

American League Second Half Outlook

The second half of the baseball season is in full swing which translates to? Pennant races. Teams …

National League Evening Preview

Tonight is a busy night for the National League in the MLB. Starting with the …

Big 12 Looks To Expand

Following a Tuesday meeting between Big 12 presidents, Oklahoma president David Boren announced that the …

LSU Looks To Capitalize On Its Opportunity

The Louisiana State University Tigers will enter the 2016 college football season with high expectations, …

Muschamp Helps Close Out SEC Media Days 2016

It wasn’t Will Muschamps first SEC Media Days experience, but 2016 marked the first time …

Phil Mickelson Leads British Open After First Day

The 145th annual 2016 British Open is underway at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. The …

Missouri’s Football Crisis: Rebuilding A Program

On the final day of SEC Media Days, Barry Odom took the stand as Missouri’s head …

Second Half Of MLB Season Begins

The All-Star Break is a good time for teams to rest up and reform themselves …

British Open Underway

The 145th Open Championship is already underway at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. Welcome …

eastside

Eastside basketball players sign with colleges

With the 2021-22 college basketball season approaching, three Eastside Rams basketball players signed with college …