The 2020 Champions Classic is going to be the latest installment in one of the best traditions in college basketball today. Since Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and Michigan State started this rotating series almost 10 years ago is has rarely disappointed. From the soul snatching beatdown that Zion Williamson and company gave the Cats just two years ago to the first game in Madison Square Garden back in 2011. This event produces great games. It is also one of the most fun events to place bets during the college basketball season. This season features Kentucky versus Kansas and Duke versus Michigan State.
#20 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #7 Kansas Jayhawks (-6)
The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off a hard to swallow loss at home to Richmond. Although Richmond is a talented and very experienced team, it is a game the Cats should have won. Without leader Keion Brooks, Coach Calipari has no players who played substantial minutes on his team last season. The Kansas Jayhawks on the other hand are having a good season despite a bitter loss to Gonzaga.
Kentucky is averaging just 72.5 points a game on 45.83% from the field and an abysmal 23.08% from three. Although that is more likely due to the fact they failed to make a single deep shot against Richmond after making half of their threes in the season opener. The Cats average 45.5 rebounds a game as well. Only rebounding ranks in the top-40 in the nation for the Cats. Mostly thanks to transfer Olivier Sarr. Brandon Boston Jr. has led the team in scoring this season. They rank 19th in KenPom ratings, an advanced analytic site.
Kansas is putting up 92 points a game and hitting 51.59% of their shots. That goes along with 44.74% from beyond the arch. Bill Self’s squad pulls down 37.5 rebounds a game. Total points and three-point % rank 29th and 21st in the country respectively. Christian Braun leads the team with 19 points and has connected on 63.6% of his threes. It is an early season, and some teams have yet to play so overall rankings are not as accurate as they are normally. KenPom lists Kansas as 6th overall.
While I am of the belief that the Kentucky Wildcats have their most talented team in five seasons, they have no experience. That doesn’t mean they can’t win or won’t win, it means they are not consistent yet. Calipari usually needs until January and even into February to figure his young teams out. Meanwhile, Kansas is a typical Kansas team for the most part.
After watching that Richmond game, the Wildcats will need to really get disciplined coming into Tuesday night’s game. Brandon Boston Jr and Terrence Clarke are bonified superstars, and either one could go for a 20+ point game. The Cats get back on track tonight and cover the spread. The 2020 Champions Classic is going to be an exciting event as always. As for the over/under, I would stay away. These games can range from 125 combined points to almost 200.