The 2018-19 NCAA Basketball season is set to kick off on Tuesday night with the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Kansas Jayhawks and Michigan State Spartans will meet up in the first game of the night. Kansas comes into this game as the top ranked team in the country, with Michigan State checking in at number 10.
The Jayhawks are coming off of a Final Four run a season ago, and look to have the team capable of cutting down the nets at the end of the season. Michigan State brings back a veteran group this season, and the Spartans have had plenty of success against the Jayhawks in this event. Kansas is a 5.5 point favorite over the Spartans on Tuesday night.
Spartans Must Replace Jackson, Bridges
Michigan State has a veteran roster, but they will need to find a way to replace the production from Jaren Jackson and Miles Bridges. Jackson and Bridges are now in the NBA and they were the offensive stars for Michigan State a season ago. Point guard Cassius Winston will likely step up his production from a season ago. Winston averaged 12.6 points and 6.9 assists last year, and is also a deadly shooter from the perimeter.
Michigan State will need to find a way to defend the paint in this contest against a huge Kansas team. Nick Ward and Kenny Goins have the experience to defend at a high level, but they are giving up plenty of inches to Kansas center Udoka Azubuike. Michigan State always plays a physical and fast style of defense and they will need to force turnovers in this game.
Kansas Has Reloaded With Talent
The Kansas team will look a lot different from last season, but the Jayhawks have reloaded the talent with a ton of talent. Head coach Bill Self brought in one of the top recruiting classes in the country and added in some transfers to complete his team. Dedric and K.J. Lawson give the Jayhawks proven stars at the collegiate level and freshman Charlie Moore will be one of the top youngsters in the country.
Udoka Azubuike and LaGerald Vick are both back for the Jayhawks and should provide plenty of offense and leadership for the Jayhawks. Both players averaged double figures in points a season ago, and they will be asked to carry more of the load with the loss of Devonte Graham. The Jayhawks have the athleticism and depth needed to be one of the top offenses and defenses in the NFL this season.