The #7 Kansas Jayhawks (0-1) have not started a season with an 0-2 record since 1987. That streak will be in serious jeopardy at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday versus Duke (2-0), the early number one team in the country.
The Jayhawks and the Blue Devils will be competing in the Champions Classic, an event that is in its 6th year, and also features the Kentucky Wildcats and the Michigan State Spartans, who will be playing each other before Duke and KU tip-off.
The Jayhawks are only 1-4 in this event since it’s beginning in the 2011-12 season, but their only victory did, in fact, come against the Blue Devils in 2013-14 by a score of 94-83. That was a game featuring star freshmen Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Jabari Parker.
Fast forwarding to 2016, the Kansas Jayhawks will be featuring freshman Josh Jackson on Tuesday, who struggled in the 103-99 loss to Indiana, scoring only 9 points on 3-11 shooting.
On the other side, it appears that the Duke Blue Devils will be without three freshmen on Tuesday, all of which were rated 5-star recruits by Rivals. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski believes that his team will face off against Kansas without the services of F Harry Giles, F Jayson Tatum, and C Marques Bolden.
However, despite the absence of those three, Duke still has junior G Grayson Allen, one of the best players in college basketball. Through 2 games, Allen is averaging 20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Allen is perfectly capable of putting the Blue Devils on his shoulders and carrying them to a victory.
A defeat at the hands of a one man show in the Champions Classic is a feeling that Jayhawk fans know all too well.
In last year’s game versus Michigan State, former senior G Denzel Valentine posted a triple double (29 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists) and lead the Spartans to a comeback 79-73 victory versus the Jayhawks.
KU will once again look to senior G Frank Mason to carry the load versus Duke. Mason carried the team down the stretch, scoring 30 points while grabing 7 rebounds and dishing out 9 assists.
The Jayhawks will also look to improve their perimeter defense, which allowed Indiana to make 15 out of 31 three-pointers, and stay out of foul trouble, as 4 out of 5 starters fouled out in the loss on Friday.
Game Time and Information:
#7 Kansas versus #1 Duke @ 7:30 PM CT
Madison Square Garden: New York, NY
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Feature photo courtesy of Madison Square Garden.