State Farm Championship Classic


Addison Drone, Staff Writer

On Tuesday night, four of the top CBB teams took to battle at Madison Square Garden for a slate of games early in the season. The first game had 13th ranked Michigan State facing off against 2nd ranked Kentucky. Later in the night would be a perhaps more enticing matchup as Duke, the top team in the nation, took on 7th ranked Kansas.

The Kentucky-Michigan State game was very sloppy in the first half as the teams combined for 19 turnovers en route to a 26-34 game at half with the Wildcats out front. Coming out of the half, Michigan State went cold, not being able to improve on a poor first half, and Kentucky pulled away. For Michigan State, none of their stars had great games. Freshman Miles Bridges shot 2-11 from the floor, scoring only 6 points, but he did pull in 12 rebounds. On the other hand, for Kentucky Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk had strong games, scoring 21 and 23 points respectively. In fact, Monk knocked down seven threes (on eleven attempts), two more than the entire Spartans squad.

Game two was a much more high scoring affair as Duke and Kansas went at it front the opening tip. In the early stages, fouls were being called left and right, but eventually the game would sped up as the two teams found their rhythms. Duke would finish the half up by five but at a cost with Grayson Allen suffering an injury scare in the final seconds before halftime. Luckily, he returned later in the game, but Kansas would go on a run to take a double digit lead midway through the second half. The lead was opened up by great ball handling and drives by their two star guards, Frank Mason (21 points) and Devonte Graham (13 points). However, Duke would battle back as Luke Kennard (22 points) and Grayson Allen (12 points) led the way down the stretch. Frank Jackson would drain a three to tie the game with 20 seconds left, but Frank Mason would knock down an elbow jumper to give Kansas the victory.

Overall, it was a noteworthy set of games with many prominent teams and players. These teams figure to be in the championship picture as the season winds to a close in March. At this early point in the season, it is important to look at the talent in place, which was definitely evident in this couplet of games, and watch the players develop over the course of the season. This year figures to be a very exciting college basketball season once again, and these teams will play a major role.