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.
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.
— Courtside Films (@CourtsideFilms) November 29, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
This stepback from BJ Boston…
— The Brotherhood (@BrotherhoodCBB) November 29, 2020
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.
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.
Christian Braun had himself a day pic.twitter.com/esvTV3uxNP
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) November 27, 2020
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.