Tonight, Kentucky will undergo its first major test of the regular season when they take on the fourth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in the Champions Classic. That’s over 12 hours from now, so here’s what can you expect as the day slowly drags on.
We’ll break down the Jayhawks
Kansas may not have Josh Jackson or Frank Mason III anymore, but they do have Devonte’ Graham. The senior guard is one of the best players in the country and containing him will be a major challenge for Quade Green and/or Shai Alexander, who have yet to impress on defense.
Outside of Graham, Kansas is still a mystery. They started four guards on Friday vs. Tennessee State, but one of them wasn’t Malik Newman, who lost his starting job to freshman Marcus Garrett. Five-star freshman Billy Preston didn’t even play after being suspended one game for breaking curfew. And while the Jayhawks hit 60% of their shots, including 43% from three, they had 20 turnovers. With only one game to look at thus far, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from Kansas other than they’ve got a lot more experience than we do; however, if we’ve seen one thing over the years, it’s that elite freshmen tend to rise to elite competition. So, who knows.
Regardless, here are the stats if you’d like to compare them (keep in mind Vermont and Utah Valley are much better than Tennessee State):
|Points per game||73||92|
|Opp. points per game||66||56|
|Rebounds per game||37||45|
|Assists per game||16||23|
|Blocks per game||6||7|
|Steals per game||7||8|
|Field Goal %||42.6%||60%|
|3-Point Field Goal %||33.3%||42.9%|
|Free Throw %||73.9%||72.7%|
|Opp. Field Goal %||43.0%||32.8%|
|Opp. 3-Pt Field Goal %||31.9%||34.8%|
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 14, 2017
Sacha Killeya-Jones’ mother is feeling good about the matchup with Udoka Azubuike
— ley 🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@Ley_KJ) November 14, 2017
Sacha’s looked great so far this season. I like the way his mom’s thinking.
Looking to party with the BBN before the game?
If you’re in Chicago and looking for the Big Blue Nation, the UK Alumni Association is meeting at the Kaiser Tiger (1415 W. Randolph St). Doors open at 11 a.m and a shuttle bus will be available to take fans to the United Center. For directions and additional details, visit www.ukalumni.net/
4:30 PM: Tyler Herro announces his decision
It’s been a whirlwind courtship with the four-star shooting guard, who will announce his decision at 3:30 p.m. CT/4:30 p.m. ET. The announcement comes on the heels of his official visit to Kentucky, and, at this point, it would be an absolute shock if he doesn’t pick the Cats.
We’ll do our best to find a live stream of the announcement as long as you guys promise not to crash the website. Deal?
We’ll hear from Eddie Gran and the offense
It’s a basketball heavy day, but you’ll get a football fix this evening from Eddie Gran and the offense. ICYMI yesterday, Stoops gave a good rundown of how Gran helped Benny Snell snap out of his early season sophomore slump. He’s had three touchdowns in each of the last three games:
7:00 PM: KSR Pregame Show
I’m sure your family won’t mind if you listen during dinner.
9:30 PM (if we’re lucky), ESPN: Kentucky vs. Kansas
Even though No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Michigan State are both ranked higher, No. 7 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Kansas drew the second half of the doubleheader because ESPN knows UK fans will stay up. Caffeine is your friend this afternoon.
I’ll leave you with this great picture of De’Aaron Fox and John Wall after last night’s Wizards/Kings game. Wall had 21 points and 9 assists to Fox’s 10 points and 5 assists in the Wizards’ 110-92 win, but mentor and the mentee shared a cool moment afterwards:
More of that in today’s BBNBA recap, which is coming your way in just a bit…