In an annual occurrence, the Champions Classic is a double-header, featuring four of the best and most notable programs in all of NCAA Basketball. Two of them are Duke and Michigan State, two preseason top-5 teams that have so far, faced some adversity.
The biggest game to this point was Duke hoisting Arizona in a battle of top-15 programs. In what ended up being as good as advertised. In a game that was decided in the final seconds, the Blue Devils lost, 78-73 despite a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds from Kyle Filipowski.
At least it wasn’t a bad loss by any means, and I can’t say the same about it with Michigan State. It was supposed to be a sleepy opening night of the season but James Madison had other plans, pulling out the 79-76 overtime upset over the top-5 team. Tyson Walker kept the Spartans in it with 35 points but was the only starter in double figures on the night.
Duke and Michigan State are both 1-1 on the season, which means the loser of Tuesday night will start out 1-2. By no means would it be panic time for either program but with NCAA Tournament seeding and overall resume-building on the line, the loser of this game certainly would be behind compared to the winner.
There are plenty of keys and storylines to watch in this key matchup involving both teams. Here’s a look at my top three overall.