#1 Duke Basketball: Champions Classic Preview vs #2 Michigan State



There is no such thing as Game of the Century type deal in college basketball, like there is in college football, and even if there were, it certainly wouldn’t be in early November. However, #1 Duke basketball vs #2 Michigan State Tuesday night comes close. No offense to the mighty squads at Elon (97-68 W) and Utah Valley (99-69), but the regular season actually begins now.

Here are three major storylines to watch in the Champions Classic at The House that Michael Built for Duke basketball fans.

It’s a High to Loath Grayson Allen

“It’s a high to be loathed,” C. Montgomery Burns, super-villain of The Simpsons, once sang. Mr. Burns’ catchy tune extols the good in being bad, explaining how he gets drunk on boos. It’s a little bit similar to Duke’s former McDonald’s All-American Ted Cruz doppelganger shooting guard.

Known for tripping opponents, and other assorted malfeasance, it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be a character concern come NBA Draft time. Until then he’s someone that many Duke basketball fans will continue being glad that he’s on their side…at least to a point. For neutrals and opponents, all eyes will be on him, because as Mr. Burns sang: “the room is full of gentlemen, but they’ve paid to see the cad.”


NBA Draft Lottery Battle Royale 

Both sides in this one have a pair of players projected into the NBA Draft lottery next June. This Duke basketball team has point guard Trevon Duval and power forward Wendell Carter Jr. while the Spartans have forwards Jaren Jackson and Miles Bridges. In a situation like this, with so much blue chip talent at work and on display, those who excel will ramp up their NBA Draft stock.

Or at least in theory, because these days the draft is as boring and irrelevant as it has ever been, as it moves closer to becoming the baseball draft. By that we mean GMs are making more picks based much more on measurables and potential than actual performance and accomplishments.

Gary Trent Jr. has a lot of next level potential and Marvin Bagley III (there’s a a lot of legacy sounding names on this team, like it’s auto racing or something) was a very late addition who made an extremely talented Duke basketball team even more ridiculously talent rich.

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Can Pre-Conference College Basketball Ever Really Become a Thing?

This event is often described as a Final Four in November, and that is pretty much what you’d get in a given year if chalk held serve. Pre-conference college hoops doesn’t get any better than this- #1 Duke basketball vs #2 Michigan State, followed by #4 Kansas vs #5 Kentucky. However, getting lots of people to care about the sport before March remains an uphill battle.

In February, a small amount of people care, as conference season winds down and the tournament draws near, but getting people to check in before the New Year is tough. It’s something we’ve written about extensively for several years, and the conclusion is always the same- there’s just too much else going on during the holiday season and sports calendar this time of the year.

Still if you’re going to get into something college basketball related before January, it ABSOLUTELY will be this.

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I myself am BEYOND EXCITED and OVERLY ENTHUSIASTIC for this, so I guess that’s what matters.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune corporation blogging community Chicago Now.

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  1. Writing an article about Duke, talking about lottery picks, and not one using the name Marvin qualifies you as the worst college basketball writer ever.

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