LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 27: Bill Self will get all he can handle vs Kentucky tonight. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
This glorious day of college hoops comes to a fitting close with the inaugural edition of the Champions Classic doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. While the other game has some coach trying to set a new record or something, Kentucky-Kansas is the only one we really care about. John Calipari hasn't met Bill Self in a game since Memphis played Kansas in that epic national championship three years ago.
Who has the edge tonight? The answer after The Jump.Kentucky is especially stacked this season. The return of Terrance Jones coupled with freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, the Wildcats seem to deserve that #2 ranking. Kansas made quick work of Towson in the season opener, but they're going to rely on Thomas Robinson to try and make up for the loss of the Morris twins to the NBA. Players like Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford may be unbeknownst to people outside of Lawrence, but these guys do play for Bill Self. He's one of the best at getting every ounce of effort out of each of his players.
Kentucky's ranking as second-best in the nation is justified, but KU remains a question mark with relative unknowns getting more playing time and Tyshawn Taylor's behavior tending to be a problem. But Self has proved doubters wrong before, coaching the post-national title Kansas team to a number three seed in the tournament. It'll be a chess match between two of the basketball's best head coaches.
Feels like a nip-and-tuck game throughout, but Kentucky's depth will prove to be too much for the Jayhawks to overcome. The game will be in the seventies and the Wildcats win by five.