Duke and Kentucky End off the Night With a Quality Top-5 Matchup
No. 2 Kentucky faces No. 3 Duke in a major showdown in the State Farm Champions Classic in Indianapolis on Tuesday. The Wildcats have a deep incoming class, PLUS they landed Stanford transfer Reid Travis. The Blue Devils will showcase the nation’s top three recruits in R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE: Kentucky is -2.5; O/U: 158.
Travis brings 98 games of experience to a young roster. He is looking forward to a top-level opponent in his first game at Kentucky.
“The mood is a lot of excitement,” Travis said in a press conference. “Taking it game by game, but obviously we’re getting to the real big games so it’s a lot of excitement in the locker room. We want to get better, and just continue to prepare to grow.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is still defining roles but will throw his freshman trio of stars into the fire and see how things play out.
“We’ll face different tempos and obviously Kentucky will be one of the most talented teams that we will play, but we just have to keep moving,” Krzyzewski said during a press conference. “We’re developing really good habits.”
Duke was 29-8 in 2017-18. The college debut of Williamson has been an anticipated event since early in his high school career. Kentucky was one of the schools he shunned. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson has mixed well with fellow forwards Barrett and Reddish. Incoming freshman point guard Tre Jones has meshed in well also. The youngster has also impressing his older teammates.
C Marques Bolden had a 3.9 average last season. He is the Blue Devils’ leading returning scorer.
Kentucky was 26-11 in 2017-18. Reid Travis is back and averaged 19.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward P.J. Washington averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds. They give the Wildcats a solid frontcourt duo that ranks among the best in the nation.
Sophomore guard Quade Green averaged 9.3 ppg and was a part-time starter last season. Freshman Tyler Herro is expected to be a major 3-point threat as well.
Kentucky may get some answers about some of the other newcomers during the game against the Blue Devils.
“We’ve got a couple of days to prepare for this next one, that will be a hard game,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said at a press conference. “Now may be harder than I thought. We need more energy defensively and the game Tuesday will be great for film to see who needs to do what.”
Kentucky leads the series 12-9, but Duke has prevailed in seven of the past nine meetings.
PREDICTION: Kentucky 76, Duke 75
NCAA Basketball Betting Odds & Trends
Duke Blue Devils:
Team record: 29-8 SU,22-14 ATS
Duke is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games
Duke is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Duke’s last 6 games
Team record: 26-11 SU,19-18 ATS
Kentucky is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Kentucky is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 9 of Kentucky’s last 11 games
Duke home to Army Sunday, November 11
Kentucky home to Southern Illinois Friday, November 9
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