5. Monmouth at South Carolina: 6:30 ET (SECN)-Last year’s darlings Monmouth travel down south to face Sindarius Thornwell and South Carolina. Thornwell is one of the SEC’s most electric players. But Monmouth tries to pull off the upset in a much larger arena then they are generally accustomed to. Senior Justin Robinson looks to step his game up even more this year for an improved Monmouth, plus you get to see their bench, who wouldn’t want to watch. Prediction – South Carolina wins Big.
4. Maryland at Georgetown: 6:30pm ET (FS1) – The second recent installment of an old rivalry. Maryland took last year’s nail biter in College Park and tonight the two teams battle in DC. Melo Trimble looked great in Maryland’s Opener in which they barely squeaked past another DC foe, American. Georgetown stomped South Carolina Upstate by 45 in their opener led by Robert Morris transfer Rodney Pryor’s 32. Bragging rights on the line at the Phone Booth. Prediction – Maryland but it’s close.
3. #9 Wisconsin at #22 Creighton: 8:30pm ET (FS1) – Huge doubleheader night for FS1, which will compete for viewers against the big 2 games below, both on ESPN. Wisconsin, my favorite to win the Big Ten, traveling to re-emerging for the first time since Dougy McBuckets, Creighton will be a very fundamentally sound game. Expect few turnovers, a lot of well run offensive sets and a really enjoyable basketball game as both teams get their first real test in early November. Maurice Watson Jr. for Creighton guarding Bronson Koenig will be a great matchup at the point, as will Marcus Foster v Nigel Hayes at the other guard spot. Prediction – Wisconsin by 5 or fewer.
2. #2 Kentucky vs. #13 Michigan State (Game in Madison Square Garden in NYC): 7pm ET (ESPN)-Ah the State Farm Champions Classic, back for it’s 6th year pinning the same four of college basketball best teams against each other in rotating fashion each year. This game is only slightly less appetizing than the night cap. This one has Izzo vs. Calipari and Miles Bridges vs. Malik Monk (won’t guard each other, but 2 of the top 5 freshman in the country), what more can you ask for. Malik Monk can score in every way, shape, and form and Miles Bridges won the opening night of college basketball, dunking all over Arizona, despite his team actually losing the game. New York City is lucky to have the Classic this year for the first time since 2011. Prediction – Kentucky by 10
1. #1 Duke vs. #7 Kansas – approximately 9:30pm ET (ESPN) – Kansas suffered the heartbreak loss to Indiana in Hawaii on Friday despite Frank Mason playing his best game of his outstanding career. He’ll get the challenge of guarding Grayson Allen in what will be an absolutely physical one-on-one matchup, with several bruises to come for both players I’m sure. Duke is still without 2 of the top 5 freshman in the country in Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum. Kansas has a top 5 freshman of their own in Josh Jackson who wants a redo on his collegiate debut after only scoring 9 on 3-11 shooting against Indiana. This is a real battle of the heavyweights. Prediction Kansas in overtime.