Two of the best college basketball programs in college hoops will square off in the season opener on Tuesday night. The Duke Blue Devils will battle with the Kentucky Wildcats in the second game of the night at the Champions Classic. Kentucky comes into this game ranked 2nd in the nation in the AP poll, while the Duke Blue Devils come in with a number four preseason ranking.
This game will feature plenty of young talent, with many of the top rated freshmen in the nation suiting up in this game. Kentucky owns a small 22-19 lead in the all time head-to-head series, and the Wildcats beat the Blue Devils by eleven points in their most recent meeting. Kentucky comes into this game as a small two-point favorite over Duke.
Freshmen Will Lead Duke
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski was able to land the top recruiting class in the nation, and it features three of the top-5 players in the 2018 class. Zion Williamson has been getting plenty of attention, but RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish both look like future stars in the NBA. Point guard Tre Young will be the fourth freshman in the starting lineup in this game, and they will be ready for primetime.
Duke should be one of the top defenses teams in the country with all of their athleticism, but it will be interesting to see how they look on offense. The young stars are explosive playmakers, but Duke doesn’t have the deep shooting threats that they usually possess. Look for Kentucky to play some zone in this game and force the Blue Devils to knock down shots.
The Lone Senior Will Be Kentucky’s Best
The Kentucky freshman class is the second ranked class in the country, but their best player will likely be senior Reid Travis. Travis came to Kentucky as a graduate transfer after a very successful career at the University of Stanford. The big man averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds last season for the Cardinal and was named to the Pac-12 First team in each of the last two seasons. Look for the Wildcats to feature Travis as the main player in their offense.
Kentucky will be giving up plenty of size in this matchup with the Blue Devils, but they will make up for it in length and athleticism. The Wildcats do return three players who were a big part of last year’s team, which could give them a small edge in this contest. Freshman Tyler Herro has the chance to be one of the best shooters in the country this season.
Duke Young Guns Beat Wildcats
John Calipari is used to playing a team that is loaded with freshmen, but Duke has the better freshman class this season. Kentucky should get a big game from Travis in this contest, but Duke just has too many explosive weapons on offense. There will be growing pains for both teams throughout the season, but the Blue Devils talent will shine through in this game. Bet the Duke Blue Devils +2.0 to beat Kentucky in the season opener on Tuesday night.