Two of the top teams in the nation will battle it out Tuesday night in the Champions Classic as the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (2-0) take on the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks (2-0). This game will be played at the neutral site of Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, with tipoff scheduled for 9:30 pm ET.
Duke won handedly in their last game as they beat the USC Upstate Spartans 84-38 at home. In the win, Kyle Pilipowski had a game-high 15 points, while Jacob Grandison added 12.
For the Jayhawks, they took down North Dakota State in their last matchup, 82-59. Jalen Wilson led the way with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Gradey Dick added 12 points in the victory.
Both of these teams are expected to have outstanding seasons, and both are tied for the seventh-best odds of winning the National Championship at +1900.
The Jayhawks are slight favorites in this one. They are -125 to win, while the Blue Devils’ moneyline sits at +104. The spread features Duke +1.5 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 144.5.
Scheyer Looks To Lead Duke To Victory In First True Test
In the post-Mike Krzyzewski era, Duke head coach Jon Scheyer has his team off to a solid 2-0 start. Still, the real test will come Tuesday night as the team has to battle it out with the defending national champions, the Kansas Jayhawks.
One of the big questions entering the game is the health of two of Duke’s biggest weapons. Dariq Whitehead, a five-star freshman, has yet to play this season due to a foot injury. As of Monday night, he was questionable for Tuesday’s game.
Dereck Lively, a 7’1” freshman center, has been upgraded to probable after getting into the team’s dominant win over USC Upstate.
Without these two, the leading performers for the Blue Devils have been Mark Mitchell (15 points, four rebounds), Jeremy Roach 13 points, six assists), Kyle Filipowski 12.5 points, 11 rebounds) and Ryan Young 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds).
Jayhawks Will Be Without Head Coach For Key Battle
Just like for Jon Scheyer and Duke, this is a big litmus test to see where the Jayhawks stand as they try to defend their national championship. Unfortunately for Kansas, they will be without their head coach, Bill Self, as he and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend serve a suspension stemming back to their involvement in a recruiting scandal.
Without Self, it will be Norm Roberts taking over as interim coach. He has led the team to their first two victories and will be looking for a third Tuesday.
Leading the way for Kansas is junior forward Jalen Wilson. This season, he is averaging 20 points, ten rebounds, and four assists per game.
Other key contributors for the Jayhawks include Gradey Dick (17.5 points, four rebounds, 1.5 steals), MJ Rice (10 points, four rebounds), Kevin McCullar Jr (eight points, five rebounds), and Dajuan Harris Jr (eight points, 6.5 assists).
Take Duke And The Points
This one should be a doozy. Both of these teams come in playing good basketball in the early going, and both teams have the ability to dominate this game.
Looking at the trends, the Jayhawks are 4-2 in their last six games against Duke, and they are 10-0 in their last ten games overall, stemming back to last year.
For Duke, they are 6-1 in their last seven games and 11-1 in their last 12 November games.
For Duke, it will be interesting to see if they get the boost from having both Dariq Whitehead and Derek Lively, while Kansas will have its first test in a tough matchup without their head coach.
Since this game could easily go either way, the best bet in this one is to take the points. In this case, that means taking Duke +1.5 (-110).