Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday that Baylor upset unbeaten Gonzaga to win the 2021 national championship in men’s college basketball? The new season is already upon us starting Tuesday, with the highlight event being the four-team Champions Classic from Madison Square Garden in New York.
Let’s take a look at the following analysis to help you place your NCAA Basketball odds.
Analyisis Start of NCAA Basketball Season 2021
No. 3 Kansas vs. Michigan State (+4.5)
It’s a 7 PM ET tip on ESPN. The Kansas senior trio of Ochai Agbaji, Remy Martin and David McCormack were named to the 2022 Naismith Trophy Watch List. KU is one of four schools with three players on the 50-member watch list along with Baylor, Gonzaga and Kentucky. Two Jayhawks have been the recipient of the Naismith Trophy, that being Danny Manning in 1988 and Frank Mason III in 2017.
A super-senior, Martin was named the 2021-22 Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year and preseason all-conference by the league coaches last month and is one of 20 selected to the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year watch list. Martin is a transfer from Michigan State.
Kansas returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last season’s 21-9 team that finished second in the Big 12 with a 12-6 record. KU advanced to its NCAA-record 31st-consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks welcome 10 newcomers, including four transfers. Kansas is the preseason favorite in the Big 12 for the 19th time in the 26-year history of the conference.
Kansas is 5-5 in the Champions Classic and the Jayhawks have won four of their last five appearances in the event after last year’s 65-62 win against Kentucky in Indianapolis. KU is 1-2 versus Michigan State in the Champions Classic.
The Spartans return nine letterwinners from last year’s team that finished 15-13 overall and 9-11 in the Big Ten and reached the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd-straight season, the second-longest active streak in Division I.
Including team captains Gabe Brown and Malik Hall, Head Coach Tom Izzo welcomes back six players who started at least five games apiece last year. Other players who had experience in the lineup who return this year include redshirt senior forward Joey Hauser, who averaged 9.7 points and 5.6 rebounds and started 16 times. Michigan State is 4-6 all-time in the Champions Classic.
MSU’s last win vs. Kansas was 79-73 in the 2015 Champions Classic in Chicago behind a triple-double from Denzel Valentine (29 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists).
No. 10 Kentucky vs. No. 9 Duke (-1)
A 9:30 PM ET tip on ESPN. Kentucky’s Keion Brooks Jr., Kellan Grady and TyTy Washington Jr. are among the early candidates for the 2022 Naismith Trophy Men’s Player of the of the Year honor. Anthony Davis, who collected virtually every major national player of the year award in 2012, is the lone Wildcat to win the Naismith Trophy in Kentucky’s decorated history. UK is one of four schools (Baylor, Gonzaga and Kansas) with three preseason candidates. A graduate transfer from Davidson College, Grady is utilizing the COVID-19 extra season of eligibility. He scored 2,002 points at Davidson and averaged at least 17.1 points in all four seasons.
Kentucky is 5-5 in Champions Classic games, tied with Kansas and one game behind Duke. Michigan State is 4-6. The Wildcats are 1-2 vs. the Blue Devils in the Champions Classic. All three previous matchups were top-10 showdowns (Associated Press Top 25).
There have been 13 top-10 matchups in the Champions Classic. Kentucky has been involved in seven of them and has a 3-4 record in those games. The Wildcats lost last season’s Champions Classic matchup vs. Kansas, 65-62, in an empty arena in Indianapolis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kentucky has never lost more than two in a row in the series.
A matchup between two of the four winningest programs in NCAA history, Duke has won eight of the last 10 meetings with Kentucky and is 6-2 versus the Wildcats under Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils’ 6-4 record in the 10-year history of the Champions Classic is the best of the four Blue Bloods.
Tuesday’s game marks Duke’s 100th all-time when playing in the greater NYC area (72-27, .727). That includes 43-25 in NYC, 7-1 in Brooklyn and 21-1 in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2021-22 campaign marks the 42nd season at Duke for Hall of Fame Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, where he has won 1,097 games and five national championships. Entering his 47th season overall, Coach K is the winningest coach in D-I history with 1,170 victories. Tuesday marks Coach K’s 1,400th game as Duke’s head coach.
- Kansas and Duke against the spread