Champions Classic

  • It’s really an honor to participate in this event every year. I wonder what other programs like North Carolina and Villanova think about the same four teams participating every year. Since the kickoff event is so successful, why not just have the previous year’s final four play? I’m glad KU is included, so maybe it should be left alone. But, other programs must despise being left out.

  • @stoptheflop

    A lot of teams would prefer not to play top competition so early in the season and risk being spanked; also teams derive more income playing at home. Yes, the exposure is big but it is partly because teams are popular and consistently good; other teams might no carry the same audience and getting beaten badly would not be necessarily good exposure. Games are scheduled way in advance so it would be impossible to know which teams will be good.

    The current 4 teams are traditionally good every year where the teams that make to the Final Four many times have a big drop the year after. For example, the 4 current team are ranked 1, 2, 4 and 10. The four teams in the last Final Four would be ranked 1, 9, 19 and unranked; a KU - Villanova rematch would have a good audience but a Michigan - Loyola game would not.

  • I believe UNC (aka Roy) was approached about being a part of it, but he doesn’t want to play Kansas anymore then he has to; which is understandable, considering his history with Kansas.

  • Yes, it’s a tough way to begin the season; the year Kentucky pounded us, the announcers at every game we played thereafter referenced the beat down. But, a win is also a grand way to start the season. I’m glad we are part of the Classic. I hope Dok shows up for the Mich St game.

  • @stoptheflop I believe that beat down was responsible for BIFM becoming the NPOY

  • UNC can’t be in it because Duke is. 2 teams from the same conference can’t be in a guaranteed matchup in non-conference. Hence why UNC, UCLA, Kentucky, and a 4th team I’m forgetting have their own thing later on.

  • I was bored and decided to do a minutes breakdown of each of the teams in the champions classic starting the season. This is what I got:


    Lagerald Vick = 2258

    Dedric Lawson = 2172

    KJ Lawson = 1275

    Udoka Azubuike = 990

    Charlie Moore = 980

    Marcus Garrett = 749

    Mitch Lightfoot = 633

    Silvio De Sousa = 175

    Chris Teahan = 25

    Team Total = 9256


    Travis Reid = 2911

    PJ Washington = 1012

    Quade Green = 869

    Nick Richards = 543

    Brad Calipari = 73

    Jonny David = 26

    Team Total = 5434


    Marques Bolden = 530

    Javin DeLaurier = 505

    Alex O’Connell = 373

    Justin Robinson = 326

    Jack White = 220

    Antonio Vrankovic = 181

    Jordan Goldwire = 169

    Mike Buckmire = 5

    Brennan Besser = 3

    Team Total = 2312

    Michigan St:

    Matt McQuaid = 1986

    Cassius Winston = 1709

    Joshua Langford = 1680

    Nick Ward = 1356

    Kenny Goins = 1336

    Braden Burke = 487

    Kyle Ahrens = 365

    Xavier Tillman = 305

    Conner George = 66

    Team Total = 9290

  • @stoptheflop

    With schedules having to be set well in advance, most teams don’t have the flexibility to add or take away an event at the end of the previous season, so doing a revisit of the previous Final Four would probably be impossible, although doing a Final Four, but flipping the semifinalists so that you play the teams from the other semifinal in a two game setup (So KU and Villanova would both play Michigan and Loyola on back to back nights). If the logistics worked, that would be pretty cool, but I don’t know that the schedule would ever allow it.

    One cool idea I heard suggested from a few years back was to host a regional “tournament” with each P5 conference taking on some of the top teams from midmajors in their region. Basically, it would give mid majors a chance to take on middle of the pack P5 teams at neutral sites to help sort out the bubble later on. Should NC State (for instance) make the field over Old Dominion? Well, ODU beat Wake Forest, who NC State lost to twice (or ODU lost by 15 to Virginia Tech, who NC State beat by 10). It gives a better chance to compare teams hovering around the bubble.

  • I’m sure TV is the biggest reason for the consistent field in the classic every year. MSU needs to get their act together though and make some FF’s or they need to get booted for some better teams.

  • Who would you replace MSU with? Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas already in the field means no SEC, ACC, or Big12 can be added. That leaves the Big East (so pretty much Villanova), Big Ten (Michigan St, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio St, Wisconsin), and PAC12 (UCLA, Arizona, Oregon). Nova seems like the obvious choice but they have a home-and-home set up with KU the next few seasons so that makes it hard. Of the remaining teams, I’d probably still take Michigan St. They are ranked 10th preseason, which is higher than any other team I mentioned besides Nova.

    Maybe Gonzaga?

  • Gonzaga doesn’t belong in the CHAMPIONS Classic.

  • What if they win this season?

  • I don’t think you could find another team to join that would travel as well at Michigan State does. The event is great as is. I love that we get to matchup against a veteran MSU team every 3 years to kick the season off. It’s a really good test to see where the team is at.

  • maybe Arizona ? - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • I’m telling you guys. Kentucky is not that good of a team and I seriously believe they are worse than last season. I don’t see a single facet of the game they are better in this year than last. They MIGHT have better post play. Maybe. Big if.

    1-13 from 3 in their first exhibition game. Herro 0-7 outside of an easy fastbreak dunk. Only 13 assists on 93 points. 27 points came on FTs.

    Almost an identical box score to their first game last season.

    In comparison, Duke and KU both shot a LOT more 3s and assisted on a LOT more shots. UK is going to struggle to put the ball in the basket. Again.

    Duke on the other hand, my goodness. I know it’s early and they played nobody, but it is hard not to be awe struck by those 3 freshmen.

  • I’ve always like the idea of something called the Big 6, the top programs historically - KU, Duke, UNC, UCLA, Indiana, and Kentucky. That way UNC wouldn’t have to play Duke. But hard to squeeze three games into an evening. And they won’t do a Saturday or Sunday vs. football.

  • @Kcmatt7 I really want UK to pound Duke lol.

  • @HighEliteMajor The day before Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity for something like that. They always play out of town for Thanksgiving anyways so that the players can catch a free flight home.

  • @BShark I think Duke rolls by 15. At least that is what my eyes tell me. Duke has the best 3 players on the court and UK has no significant advantage anywhere unless Zion gets in foul trouble.

  • @Kcmatt7

    This UK team is going to probably start slow. Duke should win this matchup because there won’t be much scouting this early in the season.

    You can overwhelm with talent early in the season because you can’t take things away without having scouted teams that much. Nobody really has any idea how those freshmen will look on the floor together against legitimate competition. Without that scouting, you can just fall back on talent since those three guys can just go one on one and win against most collegiate players.

    But as the season wears on, UK should improve. They have some nice pieces that should make for a strong team as opposed to one or two impressive individuals.

  • @justanotherfan Unless they start shooting the ball better and sharing the ball better, it will be another rough year in Lexington.

  • @Kcmatt7 how many mins can Zion play, and how many fouls did he have? Maybe it’s on here somewhere? Thx!

  • I like Kentucky by 10-15 against Duke. They have more size, more depth, more experience.

    I think it’s fair to say that Duke will have the 3 best pro prospects on the floor (although I’m not entirely sold on Cam Reddish being a better pro prospect than Keldon Johnson at this point), I don’t necessarily think they’ll have the 3 best players on the court that night. And I like the way UK can match up with Duke. It might look something like:

    Hagans (6’3) - Jones (6’2)

    Herro (6’5) - Reddish (6’8)

    Johnson (6’6) - Barrett (6’7)

    Travis (6’8) - Williamson (6’7)

    Washington (6’8) - Bolden (6’11)

    I don’t see any huge matchup advantages that jump out for either team really. I would give Barrett an advantage over Johnson and Reddish an advantage over Herro. Coach K has been selling Marques Bolden this offseason, but given how he’s played his first two seasons at Duke, I would give the advantage to Washington or Richards. Zion Williamson is going to be a better professional player than Travis Reid there is no doubt in my mind, but there’s no guarantee he outplays Travis Reid in his first real college basketball game. Travis Reid averaged 23 and 10 at Stanford last season and has played more minutes in college than the entire Duke roster combined. If you were asking me who I think is going to have a better game I would lean toward Reid. Hagans and Jones seems like a wash to me. Maybe you give a slight advantage to Jones because he’s a bit more highly-rated prospect.

    After that? Kentucky has another top ten team coming off the bench in Quickley, Green, Baker, Montgomery, and Richards. Duke probably won’t go much deeper than Jack White, Alex O’Connell, Javin DeLaurier, and Joey Baker. Their 2nd-unit is a huge drop-off from the first. Can Williamson play a full game at the 4 or 5 without getting into foul trouble? Can he play a full game without getting tired? He’s 285 pounds. Can Marques Bolden be better than mediocre? We’ll see.

    I think it’s a close game in the first half and Kentucky pulls away in the 2nd.

  • @KirkIsMyHinrich I like your analysis but I think Duke’s top players are more talented and more explosive than anyone UK has. I don’t think UK has anyone that can stop them. Duke by 10.

  • Calipari couldn’t stop Barrett the last time they faced and I don’t expect that changes.

    I actually think Kentucky wins this game because I think they will get more production from their bench. Unless Barrett & Zion combine for 40-50 points I just don’t see them beating Kentucky. I’m not high on Kentucky either I just think Duke is a 3 man team with nothing impactful coming from their bench other then McConnell. Bolden is terrible, DeLaurier is still a project. Kentucky should look to double RJ and sag the posts outside of Reddish who needs to be guarded on the perimeter.

    Will be interesting to see how it plays out in Game 1.

  • Duke signed 4 top 10 recruits, but has nothin but Bolden returning.

    Is Tre Jones bad?

  • dylans said:

    Duke signed 4 top 10 recruits, but has nothin but Bolden returning.

    Is Tre Jones bad?

    Jones should be good if he lives up to his ranking/reputation. I’m not as high on him and think his game is built up a bit on his brother’s name at Duke/signing to Duke. We’ll see if he’s got the goods, Duke has nothing to run the point outside him so they are totally dependent on him being good

  • If not for the legacy aspect, I’m not sure Duke would have went for him. But since they did, Duke ranking bump and whatnot.

  • I thought Jones looked decent in their exhibition games. I don’t think he will have to do a lot besides not completely screw up. So from that aspect, he should be fine.

  • @Kcmatt7

    UK is almost certainly a Second Weekend tournament team at a minimum. Once there, it starts depending a lot more on matchups. They could go to the Final Four, or they could run into KU, Nevada, Gonzaga or Duke in the S16 or E8 and go home. But that would be the same for any of those four teams I mentioned as well. If KU and Nevada ended up in the same region, one of those teams, despite having F4 talent, is not going to the F4. Now, if any of those teams were to not make the S16, we could definitely chalk that up as a disappointment (probably add UNC to that list as well). But beyond that, it’s hard to know how any of that shakes out.

  • KU’s all-time record vs. the field (last 3)

    MSU 6-7 (1-2)

    Duke 5-7 (3-0)

    Kentucky 9-22 (3-0)

  • I meant to say Kentucky will have Green coming off the bench in that hypothetical lineup, since Hagans is starting. I think there’s a good chance Green starts, but maybe not against Duke. My mistake.

  • @KirkIsMyHinrich Their starting lineup for game 1 was:

    • Green
    • Quickley
    • KJ
    • PJ
    • Richards

    With Travis, Montgomery, Herro and Hagans coming off of the bench. I kind of think this is how it ends up shaking out. Hagans has yet to score in double digits through 5 exhibition games.

  • I looked at the box score. I don’t read a lot into those games. Quickley or Hagans it doesn’t really matter at this point. I agree I think Green will start most games, but if he starts against Duke then Kentucky is giving up a lot of size against Barrett or Reddish, which is why I threw Herro in the starting lineup.

  • Also Hagans had 10 points (3-5) against Transy and played 24 minutes. Quickley had 3 (1-2) and played 23 minutes. Again I don’t really read much into these games. My first post about the Kentucky/Duke matchup doesn’t change at all whether it’s Hagans or Quickley starting.

    I think Reid will start that game. Reid is the best combination of size, strength, and agility that Kentucky can throw at Zion.

  • Read where there is going to be around 70 NBA people watching the classic next week.

    They were talking about that are 5 of the projected top 10 NBA first round watching - -: Barrett # 1 - - - -Williamson # 3 - - - - Reddish # 5 - - - -Grimes # 7 – - & Johnson # 8 - Additionally they STILL have Doke listed projected at # 53. - -Dam wondering if Doke makes it at all. – - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @jayballer73 I don’t think Doke is an NBA guy. Doesn’t have anything he does at an elite level. He should have a long career playing basketball if he wants to, just not in the NBA.

  • @BShark ya pretty much agree , I mean he is not the typical modern Big man. - -He has really no outside shot - -you just don’t see very many at all that camp in the lane and shoot that little 3-5 foot hook shot or mini jumper.

    Not trying to put Doke down- -But I men modern day big boys are taking the ball away from the hoop these days. At the present Doke is not EVEN close to doing that. – Plus sad to say he is I think to slow really to keep up with the NBA pace of getting up and down the floor. - - His shot is just to mechanical - -just seems like a lot of the time he over thinks about what he wants to do with the ball before he makes a move - -a shot instead of any fluidness. - I just don’t see a future in the NBA for him. - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • FYI ESPN ranks Dotson as the #7 PG prospect for the draft. Going to be tough to hold onto him this year if he gets near the Top 5.

    Grimes #2 Shooting Guard. He’s a OAD lock

    They did a 2020 rankings. Dotson first round (Late), Dedric (mid 2nd). Interesting considering its widely known he’s likely gone after the year.

  • BeddieKU23 said:

    FYI ESPN ranks Dotson as the #7 PG prospect for the draft. Going to be tough to hold onto him this year if he gets near the Top 5.

    Grimes #2 Shooting Guard. He’s a OAD lock

    They did a 2020 rankings. Dotson first round (Late), Dedric (mid 2nd). Interesting considering its widely known he’s likely gone after the year.

    💰 💰 💰 💰 and Dedric returning would solve next year’s post situation. 🤔

  • @KirkIsMyHinrich You think Reid starts over PJ?

  • I know most think Dedric will be gone after this year, but I haven’t seen one mock or ranking system that puts him in the 2019 first round. However, I do think he will be gone after this year.

  • Woodrow said:

    I know most think Dedric will be gone after this year, but I haven’t seen one mock or ranking system that puts him in the 2019 first round. However, I do think he will be gone after this year.

    There’s a slim chance he’s a first round pick if scouts hold the combine from a few years back against him. It’s hard to change their minds once they see you. I don’t think him leaving after this year is contingent upon a 1st round grade

  • If Dedric did stay by some miracle he wouldn’t be that old going into the draft in 2020. He’d be 22 I think…

  • Kcmatt7 said:

    @KirkIsMyHinrich You think Reid starts over PJ?

    Over Richards. I think it’s very likely PJ starts.

  • Kentucky Basketball ‏Verified account @KentuckyMBB 58m58 minutes ago

    UK 49, IUP 44 | 2H, 15:28 IUP is giving the Cats all they can handle. UK is shooting 52.6 percent from the floor but IUP is not backing down.

    alt text

    They ended up winning 86-64 fwiw.

  • BShark said:

    Kentucky Basketball ‏Verified account @KentuckyMBB 58m58 minutes ago

    UK 49, IUP 44 | 2H, 15:28 IUP is giving the Cats all they can handle. UK is shooting 52.6 percent from the floor but IUP is not backing down.

    alt text

    They ended up winning 86-64 fwiw.

    I watched that game off the Sec network, until like right around the 10 and 1/2 minute mark in the 2nd half it was a 9 point game , got kind of tense in the last 3 minute or so couple of scuffles but not a whole lot Not real impressed.

    IUP looked pretty quick shot fairly well who knows, but stayed with him till actually about the 9 minute mark – ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

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