KANSAS JAYHAWKS (1-0)
vs. DUKE BLUE DEVILS (1-0)
Champions Classic - United Center – Chicago, IL
Tip-off: Tuesday, 10:00 p.m. ET
Line: Duke -5
In a matchup that features the nation’s top two recruits, No. 4 Duke and No. 5 Kansas will tip off in the late game of this year’s Champions Classic in Chicago on Tuesday night.
The Blue Devils opened up the season with a commanding SU and ATS victory, shooting 70% from the field (62% threes) as they routed Davidson 111-77. Since 1997, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is 165-120 ATS (58%) after his team scores more than 85 points in a game. Four different Blue Devils scored at least 20 points in the game, including stud freshman SF Jabari Parker who scored 22 points on 8-of-10 FG. Kansas’ highly touted freshman is SG Andrew Wiggins, who scored a team-high 16 points as the Jayhawks shot 54% FG to beat Louisiana-Monroe 80-63 in its opener, but failed to cover the 26-point spread. The Blue Devils are favored by five points in this one, the same spread as when they last met Kansas in Nov. 2011, a 68-61 victory. The Blue Devils are 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS in the Champions Classic, beating Kentucky and Michigan State over the past two years while the Spartans covered in 2011. The Jayhawks are 0-2 SU and ATS in the event against the same two opponents.
Which top-five team will suffer its first loss of the season on Tuesday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The experts began the season with a 55% ATS mark (11-9-4) in college basketball Best Bets, led by StatFox Scott's 4-1 ATS record. StatFox Zach also started strong, going 3-1-1 ATS on his college hoops Best Bets.
Wiggins is the most hyped recruit in the nation in recent memory and for good reason. The freshman showed his skills on both ends in the opener, making 5-of-9 field goals, including 2-of-4 threes, while also snagging three steals in his 34 minutes of action. Andrew White III and sophomore F Perry Ellis also reached double digits, scoring 12 points each. Ellis, who came on big at the end of last season, also blocked two shots and grabbed a team-high eight boards. In the backcourt, freshman PG Wayne Selden Jr. scored eight points and dished out four assists. The key for this Kansas team, especially against an undersized Duke club, will be in the post. Six-foot-9, 260-pound PF Tarik Black, a transfer from Memphis who Duke also tried to get, scored eight points (3-for-3 FG) and snagged seven rebounds in 21 minutes in his first game with the Jayhawks and could present mismatches down low. The same is true for 7-foot C Joel Embiid, a freshman who has all the makings of a superstar. In only 11 minutes, he grabbed four rebounds and scored nine points, getting to the foul line for 10 free throws, of which he made seven. With a Duke starting lineup that plays a 6-foot-9 forward as its biggest man, Embiid and Black could each be in for a big night.
While Kansas has the size, Duke has the ability to run and gun. While the Parker versus Wiggins matchup gets the hype, Wiggins will likely be tasked with guarding Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood, who tied Parker with 22 points while also taking down a team-high nine rebounds in Friday's win. He was also super efficient from the field, making 9-of-10 FG. Hood and Parker both bring size at 6-foot-8, while 6-foot-9 sophomore C Amile Jefferson starts at the five. He played only 11 minutes in the opener, scoring 10 points (4-of-4 FG). Junior PG Quinn Cook runs the offense and did that effectively with eight assists in the opener. He also showed his ability to score with 21 points on 7-of-9 FG (3-of-5 threes). The other big scorer in the opener was sophomore SG Rasheed Sulaimon, who scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench, and could be in for a bigger role in this marquee game. This Duke team has depth and athleticism that exceeds Kansas’, but they will need Jefferson—who didn’t grab a rebound in the opener—to body up and box out.