The State Farm Classic brings together a pair of bluebloods in an early season test when the #6 Kansas Jayhawks (2-0) tangle with the #7 Duke Blue Devils (2-0) in a top-10 showdown. Duke leads the all-time series against Kansas, 8-5, but the Jayhawks have won three of the last four matchups.
Tuesday’s tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. EST inside the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kansas is a 1.5-point favorite, and the over/under total is 144.5 points.
What to Know – #7 Duke Blue Devils
Duke is in its first season under new head coach Jon Scheyer. Scheyer, a former Duke basketball player, took over from Mike Krzyzewski after 42 years on the Duke sideline. The Blue Devils own a 7-4 all-time record in the Champions Classic.
Scheyer was tasked with replacing a majority of last season’s team that went 32-7 and lost to rival North Carolina in the Final Four. Gone are four first-round draft picks, including the no. 1 overall selection Paolo Banchero.
Through two games, the Blue Devils are being led in scoring by freshman forward Mark Mitchell. The highly-touted prospect and Kansas native is averaging 15.5 points per game while shooting 54.2% from the field.
Junior guard Jeremy Roach is second on the team scoring 13.0 points and 6.0 assists per contest. Centers Kyle Filipowski and Ryan Young supply 12.5 and 11.5 points apiece for the Blue Devils.
Duke comes into the contest averaging 77.5 points per game and shooting 44.9% from the field. The Blue Devils surrender 41.0 points per game and hold teams to 30.8% from the floor.
What to Know – #6 Kansas Jayhawks
The defending national champions are playing in their 12th Championship Classic, where the Jayhawks have a 6-5 all-time record. Kansas is 2-1 against Duke in this event, the last meeting coming in a 68-66 loss in 2019.
Kansas and head coach Bill Self didn’t incur nearly the replacement project Sheyer did at Duke. The Jayhawks welcomed back their third-leading scoring along with a handful of reserves from last year’s championship team.
Forward Jalen Wilson is the team’s leading scorer averaging 20.0 points through the first two contests and adding 10.0 rebounds per game. The junior is hitting 45.5% of his shots from the field.
Freshman Grady Dick and classmate MJ Rice are both adjusting to the collegiate game well. Dick is second on the team, pouring in 17.5 points per game, while Rice is adding 10.0 ppg.
The Blue Jays are scoring 85.5 points per game, thanks to 50.4% shooting from the floor. Defensively, Kansas is allowing 61.5 points and 37.4% shooting from the field.
The Pick is In
These two teams could meet again later in the spring, but for now, we get to see a pair of top teams and their new look. Kansas returns more players and an established coach, while the Blue Devils have more talent but are young both on the roster and the coaching staff.
We like the Jayhawks to come away with an early marquee win at this point in the season.
The Pick: Kansas Jayhawks ML