College basketball fans are in for an early-season treat Tuesday night when the #20 Kentucky Wildcats (1-1) and #7 Kansas Jayhawks (1-1) battle in the State Farm Champions Classic. The two teams met up in this same event in 2017, with the Jayhawks leaving with a 65-61 victory over the Wildcats.
Tip-off for this matchup is scheduled for 8:30, immediately following the Duke vs. Michigan State game inside Bankers Life Field House in Indianapolis, IN. Kansas sits as a 3.5-point favorite, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Kentucky Wildcats
The Wildcats opened up their 2020 season with a conceiving 36-point victory (81-45) over Morehead State but stumbled this weekend in a 12-point loss to the Richmond Spiders at home as part of the Bluegrass Classic. The loss dropped the Wildcats out of the top 10.
Kentucky’s starting five consisted of four freshmen and a senior in the loss to Richmond. 6-7 guard Brandon Boston Jr. poured in 20 points and added ten rebounds for his first collegiate double-double. Through two games, his 17.5 points per game average leads the team.
Olivier Sarr, the lone senior starter, also collected a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Sarr is a transfer after beginning his collegiate career at Wake Forest.
The Wildcats went 0-10 from the arc against the Spiders for the first time since the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Kentucky is replacing roughly 94-percent of its offense from last season.
What to Know – Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks opened their 2020 season with a clash against top-ranked Gonzaga, stumbling down the stretch in a 102-90 loss playing in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Meyers Tip-Off. Kansas bounced back in their finale, throttling Saint Joseph’s, 94-72.
Sophomore guard Christian Braun erupted for a game-high 30 points against the Hawks, adding nine rebounds, four steals, and three assists. The 30-point outburst was a career-high for the 6-6 shooter. Braun is the early leader in scorer for the Jayhawks, averaging 19.0 points per game.
Junior Ochai Agbaji poured in 18 points in the blowout victory, and sophomore Jalen Wilson came off the bench to chip in 14 points and nine rebounds.
Kansas welcomed back three starters and nine letter winners from last season’s 28-3 team that ended the season ranked #1 in both the AP and Coaches Poll.
The Pick is In
The matchup pits the two winningest programs in college basketball history, and these two squads will be seeing each other for the eighth time in the last decade. Kentucky’s roster is littered with NBA talent, but the Wildcats have a lot of growing up to do if they want to make a run for the title in March.
Kansas, on the other hand, welcomes back a handful of returning starters and role players from a successful 2019-20 squad. Early on in the year, we like to side with an experienced team over talent.
The Pick: Jayhawks -3.5