Duke Vs Kansas, Indianapolis 9:30pm ET
The premier matchup of the evening resides in Indianapolis at the Champions Classic between the Blue Devils and the Jayhawks. Plenty of those watching will be doing a double take as Coach K and Bill Self will not be wandering the sidelines of either team. Rookie head coach Jon Scheyer will have the head coaching advantage (and is a head coaching upgrade) for the Dukies tonight with the suspended Self not present.
This matchup will be a battle of wills. Duke will try to dominate Kansas with their freshman bigs in Filipkowski and Lively. Northwestern transfer Ryan Young is another helpful addition and could prove important in a matchup like tonight's. On the other side, The Jayhawks will be trying to stymie this goliath lineup with a small ball approach aiming to frustrate Duke's youthful post players and create mismatches on the offensive end. While this could certainly prove effective, Scheyer has enough wits about him to make in game coaching adjustments that the Kansas sideline might not be able to adapt to. The Blue Devils will be running and gunning and will control the boards tonight and the # feels a bit disrespectful considering all those factors. Duke as an underdog this morning would be a no doubt wager but even Duke at Pk or -1 is a play for me.
San Diego State at Stanford, 9pm ET
Both teams come into this one feeling battle tested in their first week but in different ways. The Aztecs won a tricky one against BYU while Stanford kept it close with Wisconsin but eventually faltered. Both squads return plenty of starters and experience in from last year so this should be a good one in Palo Alto.
The Cardinal had plenty of answers coming into the season with this roster but one that has not been answered is a clear cut point guard. This may prove to be a bit of a problem against San Diego State. Where the tides could turn is their ability to shoot. Stanford has been getting good looks from beyond the arc (Top 3rd of the nation according to ShotQuality) but just are not converting (301st in the nation). Harrison Ingram, Spencer Jones and Michael Jones should find their grooves soon enough and all of them have shown the pedigree to do just that. A home game tonight against a team that plays drop coverage defense allowing open looks from 3 point land is a good recipe for just that.
On the other end, San Diego State has impressed to open the year. Darrion Trammell and Lamont Butler have been scoring in bunches to start the season with defenses zeroing in on All Mountain West guard Matt Bradley. While that is all well and good, the possibilities of both Trammell and Butler continuing scoring at those rates seems unsustainable. Bradley has been in a slump early on in the season and has admitted that he isn't comfortable with his shooting form and that he has to figure out how to get back in a groove. His matchup with one of the better defenders in the nation in Spencer Jones tonight is probably not the answer.
While I love this San Diego State team and their coaching advantages night in and night out, it feels as if this is not a good spot for them away from home and against a team that can play to their advantages on both sides of the floor. Stanford +5 is quite a bit inflated as I have this one closer to a pick'em and will take the Cardinal as a result.