In fact, if Michigan State's Spartans can't derail the Dookies tonight, it's not inconceivable to imagine the Blue Devils reaching the NCAA tournament still undefeated in March. Eastern Time. The Arizona Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky Wildcats are now rounding out the top five while Arizona received 18 first-place votes and Kansas receiving one.
"I think that experience past year that humbled everybody was a good experience", Izzo said. "They're really physical inside, they have a couple of guards who are assassins from the perimeter, they have a point guard that's really a play-making point guard and who kind of has got enough savvy to pick and choose his times". There's no question that the Blue Devils are as talented as anyone in the country, but they'll have a big stage Tuesday to show they can get the job done in their first big test of the season.
No. 2 Michigan State will battle the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils on Tuesday night in Chicago (7 p.m., ESPN), in the first game of the two-game Champions Classic at the United Center.
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Freshman forward Marvin Bagley III was the leading scorer in both games. And four of the five are freshmen. Michigan State starts four sophomores, including Bridges, and one freshman.
Still, the Spartans have not only Bridges but also freshman phenom Jaren Jackson Jr., who's projected as the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft, as well as physical forward Nick Ward and one of college basketball's best names this season: senior point guard "Tum Tum" Nairn.
"Then I was like: 'Who scheduled this game?"
Kentucky (2-0) dropped out of the top 5 after trailing Utah Valley by 12 in a season-opening win and holding off Vermont 73-69 in a pair of home games.
Duke won its first two games of the season this past weekend, with a 97-68 win over Elon on Friday and a 99-69 win over Utah Valley on Saturday.
That could be said of any of these four teams.
Staying put at No. 2 is Michigan State, which received 13 first-place votes, following the 98-66 win over North Florida last week.
"You can not play Popcorn State and learn anything", Kentucky coach John Calipari said after the Vermont game. "He [Allen] is a very very electric player that can get it going".