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KU Predictions: Champions Classic

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The gang gets together to pick a little early season basketball. Tonight we have two games for you.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

I thought we could have a little bit of fun and pick the entire event tonight, since I know everyone is going to be watching Duke-Kentucky as well, even if it’s just to see what time our game will start.  But apparently the panel was none too pleased with that decision.

mikeville: Alright, first dibs.  Here we go.  Oh…. what?  I have to make two predictions?  Ugh.  Fine.  Um… yeah so I guess now’s the best time to come clean - I really am not prepared for college basketball this year.  I don’t feel like I know anything about anybody outside of the Big 12.  (Remember, you probably have K-State picked too high.)  I can’t name a single Duke player, and I even watched part of the Duke-Seton Hall game a few days ago.  The only Kentucky name I know is that Skal kid and that’s only because of all the questions surrounding his recruitment.  So I’ll blindly guess that UK threw him some dolla dolla bills y’all cuz he’s really good and say: Kentucky 81, Duke 70.

On to the main event.  We’re down Diallo and Vick, although in fairness we don’t really know what we have in Diallo.  Thanks, NCAA clearinghouse.  If I had to provide my sixth grade homework, I’d be ineligible too. (Good call on Braeden Anderson, too.  Jerks.) Anyway, Vick is injured but MSU is missing one of their guys as well.  They like to muddy it up, and with the focus on "rules changes" this year, I expect a free-throw shooting contest that lasts past midnight Jayhawk time.  Brannen Greene missed a free throw the other night, but he goes a perfect 12/12 from the line and Jayhawks pull away late. Kansas 78, Michigan State 65.

Fizzle406: Based on the extensive research I have done on Duke and Kentucky I can conclude that, um, the Duke players will be better than the Kentucky players? Other way around? Kentucky is usually good so I will go with them. Kentucky 74, Duke 71

Alright alright alright. The real game. Kansas still has some kinks to work out and I haven’t had the time to see what Michigan has this year but I think KU has the overall stronger team this year. On the other hand, KU doesn’t have the strongest record in the Champions Classic. Final prediction: Kansas 82, Michigan State 71, 1,635 references to Diallo

dnoll5: Duke is good at basketball.  Kentucky is good at basketball.  Coin has been flipped. Kentucky 81, Duke 75.

As all others are saying, on to the main event, which based on rule changes and enforcement, stands no chance of starting on time.  But what else is new in college basketball? Of course, all the obvious references to Cheick Diallo (Jay Bilas is the announcer, isn’t he?) will dominate the narrative of the game, but I really like KU’s chances in this one.  They’ve been on record as wanting to make amends to that loss last year to UK.  I think that they will. Kansas 81, Michigan State 75.

KU Grad 08: Kentucky is still a few months away from putting it together. Duke 73, Kentucky 70

As for the us, it seems like we never play well in these early season tests. I think we’ll get beat on the boards and our three point shooting won’t quite be good enough to overcome that. Michigan State 76, Kansas 73.

Winmore: So Brain wants a Tucky –v – Dook prediction in addition to one for the Jayhawks. Admittedly, I don’t know much about either of these teams yet. My mind is still firmly focused on football. All I know is that Tucky and Duke once again have the Pez dispenser of players suiting for their schools. Other worldly talent goes out, new talent pops right up into its place. This is the game everyone thought they’d see in the National Title last season. I hate both of these schools. Whoever wins will ultimately result in an emotional and spiritual loss for everyone else. Duke 75, Kentucky 69

Even without Cheick Diallo, the Jayhawks showed in their first game that they will still be a good team. The most impressive stat line from the game against Northern Colorado: Frank Mason, 9 assists; Devonte Graham, 8. That is absolutely sick. If Kansas’ double barreled point guard play can dish like that all season, Kansas’ offense could be a beast. It was nice to see a healthy Brannen Greene out there balling again. When he’s on, and splashing threes, his shot looks so pure that net doesn’t even seem to move. On the other side of the court, I swear Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans are a damn zombie, they even wear green to match one’s rotting skin. Every time you get the feeling  Izzo’s program might be slumping they put together a ridiculous low seeded run to the Final Four, like last season, taking full advantage of the wreckage of higher seeds falling all around them. They just won’t die. I’m sure they will annoyingly ug this game up with their beat ‘em up basketball style of play that gets passed off as good defense tonight. Look for a million free throws that will stretch this game toward midnight eastern time. Kansas 83, Michigan State 79

Hammen: Even as Coach K has embraced the one-and-done era and started reloading with stud freshmen every season, his teams have kept the trait of usually being pretty good and playing up to most of their potential right away at the beginning of the season.  It’s rare that his teams are demonstrably better in March than they were in November. Duke 75, Kentucky 69.

On the flip side of the coin, Bill Self and Tom Izzo teams are usually much rougher-looking at the beginning of the season, gradually round into shape as the year goes by, and March is the finished product (no Embiid and no Cliff the last two tournaments have hurt Kansas in this regard, obviously).  Even though KU just hung 109 on Northern Colorado and shot the ball extremely well, this game should be ugly, as games between these two teams tend to be.  This year, though, Kansas has too many horses for the Spartans.  Kansas 65, Michigan St. 60.

the6thJayhawk: Do I really have to make a prediction for the Duke-UK game?? I have no idea what we’re doing, let alone two other rando teams. I guess, if I have to say anything…. It comes down to the wire. Neither team’s willing to give up, and some lucky foul calls and made free throws gives Duke the edge over UK. Duke 78, UK 75.

Unfortunately, I have yet to see any KU games this season, so I’m going in totally blind. I trust in Perry, Mason & Co. to set a good example for the young freshmen, and -- if need be -- carry the game on their backs. Michigan State is a respectable program, and I have a feeling they’re going to lead us through the first half. But, as KU is a second-half team, I imagine we will run away with it with about 3:00 left in the game. And, by "run away with it," I mean, we’ll get like 7 or 8 points up on them. Kansas 72, Michigan State 65.

NineToesBlogging: Duke and Kentucky can play Basketball pretty well, from what I'm told. Coaching will be the difference and Coach K is a better coach than Calipari. Duke 71, Kentucky 64.

The Kansas Jayhawks have the two most talented players on the court in Perry Ellis and Frank Mason. Gr333ne is a terrific shooter and I'm hopeful he keeps a high shooting percentage from the three point line. Rock Chalk in this one. Kansas 78, Sparty 67.

misterbrain: Duke is defending champion with a decent portion of their team returning.  Kentucky is a bunch of freshmen that haven’t spent much time together. Duke 78, Kentucky 71

I’ll just take my prediction from my Q&A with The Only Colors:

Denzel Valentine has me a worried, and Eron Harris is probably going to be on fire after his dismal opening night performance, but the Jayhawks have too many weapons that have been playing together for too long. Michigan State is too talented to be blown out, but Kansas will show that they are the better team at this point in the season. I don't think I want to see the Spartans again later in the season, but I'm going to have to say the Jayhawks win tonight 74-68.

Now see, wasn't that fun?