UK to play in national spotlight in Champions Classic

UK to play in national spotlight in Champions Classic
(Photo: FOX19 File Photo)

Tuesday night will mark the 6th straight year of the annual Champions Classic, the premiere college basketball kickoff event that features four of the most storied programs in the game: Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas.

This year's event has all the makings of bringing about yet another special night for college basketball fans as both the elite talent and storied coaches on display resemble action we would not otherwise see until late March.

The story of this early college basketball season has been the hype of this year's freshman class, which many experts are calling possibly the greatest class ever in terms of both the amount of talent at the very top and the depth this class features from top to bottom.

A whopping eight of those top ten freshman are on rosters that will be featured in tomorrow night's Champions Classic. Both Kentucky and Duke each feature three top 10 freshman on their respective rosters, with Duke claiming two of the top three overall players in the class according to ESPN. 

However, not all of these freshman will be featured in action tomorrow night as Duke is currently dealing with injuries to both of its top two freshman, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum, as well as another injury to 5 star freshman center Marques Bolden. All three players have been ruled out of action for tomorrow night's game.

Not to worry college basketball fans because the amount of talent displayed on the floor in Madison Square Garden tomorrow night will still be tremendous, even without two of the potentially top 5 players talent wise in college basketball, and it all starts with Kansas freshman Josh Jackson.

Jackson, who some experts are predicting will be the first player taken in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft, is a high flying supremely talented wing with the
rare ability to simply take over games at his own will. Standing at 6'8" with a 42 inch vertical and the athleticism of an elite NBA two guard, Jackson's physical gifts are off the charts.

Combine those gifts with an on the court personality his teammates describe as "next level competitive freak", and it's easy to envision just how good Jackson will be in likely his one and only season in a Jayhawks uniform. 

Kansas is set to take on Duke in the second matchup of tomorrow night's event with the first game featuring another pair of college basketball blue bloods in both Kentucky and Michigan State.

John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have once again reloaded on the recruiting trail, bringing in yet another top ranked recruiting class according to ESPN and several other services, and look to be amongst the best in college basketball once again. This year's Wildcats will once again be heavily freshman dependent and may take some time to develop before we see them at their best. 

They will take on Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans, who also feature a pair of top freshman, in both elite forward Miles Bridges and five star wing Josh Langford, themselves. The Spartans will look to rebound against Kentucky after taking an opening night loss to Arizona in the Armed Forces Classic this past Friday night.

The action is set to begin at 7:00 pm with pre game coverage beginning around 6:30 on ESPN.

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