For the third year in a row, Kansas will compete in the Champions Classic, this time against Duke. Last year, Kansas fell to Michigan State and lost to Kentucky the year before.
Duke will be a tough game for an inexperienced Jayhawk squad, and is coming of a 111-77 win against Davidson Nov. 8.
A key matchup in the game will be Andrew Wiggins against Jabari Parker, Duke’s top recruit who once considered attending Kansas.
KU and Duke always seem to play in high-stakes matchups. The two teams have met nine times, seven coming in the NCAA tournament. While the Blue Devils do lead the series 7-2, they have never won a game by more than six points.
The last meeting between KU and Duke came in the championship game of the 2011 Maui Invitational, with Duke coming away victorious in a close 68-61 victory.
Players to watch for:
No. 22 – Andrew Wiggins: Already the focal point of this Kansas team, the eyes of ESPN, NBA executives and the entire country will be glued to Wiggins this entire season. A 6’7 small forward who can really play any position on the court, every defense the Jayhawks face this season will have to focus on the likely 2014 No. 1 draft pick. Wiggins scored 16 points in his first collegiate game against Louisiana Monroe.
No. 1 – Wayne Selden: A player who has come in to the season under the radar of Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden is going to factor into this game and the Jayhawk’s season. He has a good shot from beyond the arc, and seems to be a very consistent young player.
No. 1 – Jabari Parker: KU fans have been awaiting the match up of Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker since the teams’ schedules were released. Parker was a high-profile player during his recruitment, and many KU fans felt spurned when he chose Duke over Bill Self and the Jayhawks. Parker scored 22 points in his first collegiate game, and is a dynamic threat to score from anywhere on the court.
No. 5 – Rodney Hood: Hood scored 22 points in the Blue Devil’s season opening game against Davidson. Shooting a ridiculous 9-10 from the field and 2-2 from three point range, Hood will need to be a focus for the inexperienced Kansas defense.
I predicted KU would lose this game in the RCB season preview, and I am sticking by that prediction. The Jayhawks are a very young team that has shown a lot of defensive issues—not a good problem to have against a Duke team who shot 61.8% from three their last game. Look for Duke to win this game 88-79 and remember this game is in no way an indicator of how the rest of the Jayhawk’s season will go.