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Champions Classic Preview

Bill Self Kansas

(3) Kansas vs Michigan State


Kansas has a tremendous opportunity to start the season off in the right fashion being considered a National Championship favorite. First off, the debut of Remy Martin will be intriguing to watch his fit within a veteran team. Along with, his ability to be a big game performer with his scoring ability. Also, Ochai Agbaji will be in line to have a strong performance against Michigan State. His matchup against freshman Max Christie is one to watch. Now, Kansas will be without Jalen Wilson due to his suspension for the first three games of the season. Therefore, Christian Braun will have the opportunity to have a larger role offensively for Kansas. In addition to Joseph Yesufu will have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the Kansas perimeter on both ends. The biggest advantage for Kansas will be inside with David McCormack against a Michigan State team without a big equal to his productivity.

Michigan State

As for Michigan State, the most important answer in this game will be the impact, Tyson Walker. Also, the ability to have a true point guard for Michigan State should allow their offense to get back on track this season. Now, Max Christie will be a key component for Michigan State adding explosiveness to the perimeter. Furthermore, Gabe Brown will be vital on both ends adding offensive firepower and defensive ability on Ochai Agbaji. Continued, the frontcourt for Michigan State must show improvement and that begins with Joey Hauser showing an ability to be a shot-maker. Along with, having physicality from Mady Sissoko and athleticism from Marcus Bingham Jr. inside. Also, Malik Hall needs to show improvement to be the versatile big he can be for Michigan State on both ends.
Even without Jalen Wilson in this game, Kansas will have too much offensive firepower for Michigan State to match in this game.
Matchup to Watch: Tyson Walker vs Remy Martin 
Prediction: Kansas 75 Michigan State 69

(10) Duke vs (9) Kentucky


Next, the second game covered in the Champions Classic Preview is the battle of Mike Krzyzewski against John Calipari. The last season for Krzyzewski begins against Kentucky with a major test for his team. Now, a vital component for Duke will be the point guard play of Jeremy Roach in a great matchup versus TyTy Washington. Continued, the frontcourt is an area for Duke that they will need to win with the athleticism of Mark Williams and the skill level of Paolo Banchero. Also, Paolo Banchero should have his way against the Kentucky frontcourt. Next, Wendell Moore will need to add stability for Duke on both ends with Trevor Keels showcasing his shooting ability. The biggest question mark for Duke entering this game is the status of AJ Griffin with his health. Along with, the ability for the young freshman to make a significant impact.

Mark Williams - 2021-22 - Men's Basketball - Duke University


As for Kentucky, the mixture of young talent and veteran transfers should set up Kentucky for a strong start against Duke. Now, the backcourt play of Shavir Wheeler and TyTy Washington will be vital to get Kentucky’s offense off to a strong start. Next, Kellan Grady will immediately add the offensive ability to Kentucky. Also, the interior of Oscar Tshiebwe will be crucial for Kentucky against a talented frontcourt for Duke. The consistency of Keion Brooks on both ends could be key for Kentucky especially matched up on Paolo Banchero. The depth of Kentucky is there as well with having Daimion Collins and Davion Mintz who can make an impact immediately.
The frontcourt of Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams will set the tone for Duke getting off to a big-time win against Kentucky.
Matchup to Watch: Mark Williams vs Oscar Tshiebwe
Prediction: Duke 79 Kentucky 75

Images Courtesy of, Duke Athletics,

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