Note: I’ve decided to use the KenPom Top 25 just because I find it much more accurate than the AP, plus, its updated daily
#13Michigan State vs #1Kansas in Indianapolis, IN – 7 PM ET, ESPN
While the nightcap will deservedly get most of the attention, the warmup will kick off the 2018 college basketball season with a bang, as my preseason #1 team, the Kansas Jayhawks, host Michigan State at the Champions Classic. Michigan State will lose two lottery picks in Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., but this team returns the rest of their top six, including the junior combo of PG Cassius Winston and C Nick Ward.
Kansas loses a lot from last year’s Final Four team, including the leader of the 2017 Jayhawk squad, Devonte’ Graham. Seven-foot C Udoka Azubuike and SF Lagerald Vick are the top returners for the Jayhawks, and they bring in perhaps the best group of freshman in the country behind Duke. With Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes joining the program, I see this Kansas team being even better than last year’s, and I would take the Jayhawks to get the win and cover even against a scrappy Tom Izzo team.
#3Duke vs #6Kentucky in Indianapolis, IN – 9:30 PM ET, ESPN
Two potential final four teams square off in Indy in what will end up being one of the biggest games of the 2018 college basketball season. Kentucky, which struggled last year at times due to inexperience, will return PJ Washington and Quade Green. While the newcomers like Ashton Hagans and Keldon Johnson will be the highlights, Kentucky’s best teams in the past have come when they return some pieces and don’t solely rely on recruiting, such as is the case here.
John Calipari and Big Blue will run into the buzzsaw that is the Duke Blue Devils. The class of RJ Barrett, Joey Baker, Zion Williamson, Cameron Reddish, and Tre Jones is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and Zion and Barrett both have legitimate national player of the year hype. Kentucky has a bit of a tendency to start slow, and Duke has had a winning record in this preseason event since its inception (4-3). Give me the Dukies to pull the upset.
#4North Carolina @ Wofford – 7 PM ET, ESPN2
Prediction: North Carolina
ATS Pick: Wofford +10.5
#20Florida @ #15Florida State – 9 PM ET, ESPN2
Prediction: Florida State
Western Kentucky @ Washington – 10:30 PM ET, ESPNU
BYU @ #7Nevada – 11 PM ET, CBSSN
Ohio State @ Cincinnati – 6 PM ET, ESPN2
No Featured Games
Louisiana (1-0) @ #12Tennessee (1-0) – 7 PM ET, SEC Network+
ATS Pick: Louisiana +16
Missouri (1-0) @ #23Iowa State (1-0) – 7 PM ET, Cyclones.TV
Prediction: Iowa State
Arkansas vs #18Texas (1-0) in Fort Bliss, TX – 7 PM ET, ESPN
ATS Pick: Arkansas +6
Buffalo (1-0) @ #11West Virginia – 9 PM ET, ESPNU
Prediction: West Virginia
Washington (1-0) @ #13Auburn (1-0) – 9:30 PM ET, SEC Network
No featured games for today
Vanderbilt (1-0) @ USC (1-0) – 9 PM ET, Pac-12 Network