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2013-14 College Basketball – Early Season Matchups

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Kentucky vs. Michigan State Nov. 12

The first matchup of the Champions Classic in Chicago puts youth against experience. Michigan State returns four of five starters from last season including freshman phenom, Gary Harris. Tom Izzo and Michigan State lack a frightening recruiting class, but nevertheless, the Spartans are highly ranked and predicted to have a standout season behind their returning players. On the other side, Kentucky will feature some of the best recruits in the nation behind Julius Randle and Andrew and Aaron Harrison.

 

Duke vs. Kansas Nov. 12

The second match of the Champions Classic features two more college basketball heavyweights. This one pits Duke against Kansas in an unforgettable matchup of freshman sensations. Duke’s Jabari Parker squares off against Andrew Wiggins of Kansas. Even with the massive hype on the two, It may be the other players in the lineup that decide this game of future NBA all-stars.

 

Ohio State at Marquette Nov. 16

Marquette returns three starters from a team that went to the Sweet Sixteen last season. After another solid recruiting class, the Golden Eagles look to make a run for the Big East title. Ohio State returns Aaron Craft and high-flying Sam Thompson as well as some other role players. The recruiting classes for both teams will play a big part in this matchup. If one side is more developed than the other, that could be the difference maker.

 

Memphis at Oklahoma State Nov. 19

Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State battle Memphis in an exciting non-conference matchup just three weeks into the season. Smart headlines an impressive lineup for the Cowboys, who also return forward LeBryan Nash, and sharp-shooting Phil Forte. For Memphis, this will be the first test for an unproven lineup. The Tigers do return leading scorer, Joe Jackson, but they have several new faces. However, this new talented bunch includes several highly touted prospects such as forwards Austin Nichols and Kuran Iverson.

 

Indiana at Syracuse Dec. 3

A rematch of last years’ Sweet Sixteen matchup. Indiana returns Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey, but an inexperienced frontcourt led by star freshman Noah Vonleh will tell the tale for Hoosiers. Highly touted point guard Tyler Ennis will take over at floor general for Syracuse after the departure of Michael Carter-Williams. The Orange return their leading scorer and rebounder, C.J. Fair, as well as fellow big men, DaJuan Coleman and Rakeem Christmas. Syracuse also brings in Michael Gbinije, a transfer from Duke.

 

Michigan at Duke Dec. 3

Michigan will need all the help they can from their bench when they travel to take on the Blue Devils who feature a well-rounded lineup. Who will take over this game and win it for their team? If Michigan is ready to play, they could rise up for the win, but Jabari Parker and Duke plan to stop the upset-minded Wolverines.

 

Kansas at Florida Dec. 10

The Gators host Andrew Wiggins and Kansas in what is sure to be a high scoring affair. The last time these two schools met up in 2006, we saw a classic overtime match. This year, new faces make the name for both teams. Point guard Kasey Hill and forward Chris Walker will be on display for Florida to accompany returning starters, Patric Young and Scottie Wilbekin. The biggest challenge for Florida is who will they choose to guard Andrew Wiggins?

 

Kentucky at North Carolina Dec. 14

As usual, Kentucky enters this season with one of the, if not the best recruiting class in the nation. Up front, the Wildcats will feature freshmen sensations, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson. Kentucky also returns Willie Cauley-Stein at center. The guard positions for Kentucky will likely be taken by twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison with James Young to take the other wing position. Conversely, North Carolina will be represented by mostly returning players. Point guard Marcus Paige looks for a great sophomore season while forward James Michael McAdoo will continue to try and impress NBA scouts with his abilities. The winner may be decided by the players in the post.

 

Arizona at Michigan Dec. 14

Arizona lost several key pieces of their team, but another great recruiting class from Sean Miller keep the Wildcats in the national spotlight. They do return Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley who look to expand their roles this season. McDonalds All-American Aaron Gordon is the headliner of the Arizona recruiting class who will only strengthen the Wildcats’ frontline. For Michigan, the loss of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway will be tough to overcome, but Wolverines return three starters including Mitch McGary. Michigan also brings in Zak Irvin, a small forward who could have an immediate impact.

 

Tennessee at Wichita State Dec. 14

Wichita State returns four of five starters from last years’ Final Four team. The Shockers will take on a Tennessee team that returns leading scorer, Jordan McRae. If there is any indication from last year, Wichita State will try to take advantage of their guard play and will their players to victory in a tough road game for the Vols.

 

Louisville at Kentucky Dec. 28

Even after winning the national championship, Louisville is right back in the hunt for another title. The Cardinals return three starters, an impressive recruiting class, and the emotional return of guard Kevin Ware. Rick Pitino has done a marvelous job with his fast-paced, pressure defense. Louisville looks to disrupt the young Kentucky team right before the conference schedule begins.

 

 

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