How big is the Champions Classic? ESPN gave the games their own commercial. Not bad.
Fourth-ranked Duke with square off against fifth-ranked Kansas shortly after then number one and two teams in the nation play tonight in Chicago. The storylines are so full I’m sure Dick Vitale is going to run out of adjectives about freshman “diaper dandies”, “dipsy-doo” plays, made “trifectas”, “slam, bam, jam” dunks, and “it’s awesome, baby” moments. It may be a good idea to watch the game on mute for a little while.
DUKE v KANSAS
Duke comes in having demolished Davidson, 111-77, in their season-opener. It was a beating severe enough that KenPom.com has Duke ranked fourth in the nation behind Louisville, Michigan State, and Kentucky. Kansas sits at number eight.
What Duke has coming into this game that Kansas does not is experience. KU will be playing mostly freshman with a few sophomore in their rotation, with Naadir Tharpe being the only upperclassman of the bunch. How trustworthy do you find Tharpe on the court at this point? The youth and inexperience is going to show up a lot for Kansas in this game.
Duke, meanwhile, will have it’s share of freshman, but will also feature senior starter Tyler Thornton and junior starter Quinn Cook. The backcourt experience combined with the young talent in Parker is going to make them deadly early in the season.
PARKER v WIGGINS
We are going to learn a lot about Andrew Wiggins tonight.
Jabari Parker has the benefit of not being labeled as the next Jesus of Basketball, an experienced backcourt, and a season-opening smackdown of 22 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Parker is from Chicago, so he’ll probably have the benefit of having the crowd will probably be behind him.
Wiggins was off-and-on at times in KU’s opener. The talent jumps out at you, but so does the uncomfortableness of playing within Bill Self’s system. As Self would say, “He’s thinking too much right now.” This is not what KU needs tonight.
This is a game where being “right” about what you’re supposed to be doing on the court goes away a little bit and the “alpa dog” is supposed to kick in. Kansas’ best shot at winning this game is if Wiggins decides to go off on Duke, which is going to require Wiggins to go into Eff-You mode. Is he willing to do that this early in the season?
MIKE KRAZYZEWSKI v BILL SELF
It is interesting to look at how Duke and Kansas lineup since Self took over in Lawrence in 2003-04.
|ACC||1st||3rd||1st||6th||2nd||2nd (tie)||1st (tie)||2nd||2nd||2nd|
|NCAA||Final Four||Sweet 16||Sweet 16||1st Round||2nd Round||Sweet 16||Champions||Sweet 16||2nd Round||Elite 8|
|Big 12||2nd||1st (Tie)||1st (Tie)||1st||1st (Tie)||1st||1st||1st||1st||1st (Tie)|
|NCAA||Elite 8||1st Round||1st Round||Elite 8||Champions||Sweet 16||2nd Round||Elite 8||Runner-Up||Sweet 16|
That’s lot of wins.