Tuesday's Tip Sheet
November 13, 2017
By Brian Edwards
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Four bluebloods will congregate at United Center in Chicago on Tuesday night for a doubleheader at the Champions Classic. Duke and Michigan State will collide in the lid-lifter, followed by Kansas vs. Kentucky.
Let’s take an in-depth look at both matchups.
**No. 1 Duke vs. No. 2 Michigan State**
-- As of Monday night, most books had Duke listed as a two-point favorite. Tip-off on ESPN is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
-- Duke (2-0 straight up, 1-0 against the spread) opened the season with Friday’s 97-68 spread-covering win over Elon as a 19.5-point home favorite. Marvin Bagley III, the 6’10” freshman, led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while senior guard Grayson Allen added 22 points on 6-of-9 shooting from long distance. Gary Trent Jr. produced 17 points, six boards and three assists without a turnover. The 165 points went ‘over’ the 156.5-point total.
-- Mike Krzyzewski’s team was back on the court again Saturday, stroking Utah Valley by a 99-69 count in a non-lined affair. All five Blue Devils scored in double figures paced by Bagley, who had 24 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two assists compared to merely one turnover. Allen went 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from downtown in an 18-point effort, while Trent added 17 points and four rebounds. Trevon Duval, a true freshman point guard, finished with 15 points, 12 assists (with just one turnover), three steals and three rebounds.
-- Bagley is averaging team-highs in scoring (24.5 points per game), rebounding (10.0 RPG) and field-goal percentage (65.7%). Allen (20.0 PPG) is shooting at a 66.7 percent clip from 3-point land and has a 4/1 assists-to-turnovers ratio. Duval (11.5 PPG) has made 64.7 percent of his shots from the field with a remarkable 20/1 assists-to-TOs ratio. Duval also has a team-best six steals. Another true freshman, 6’10” Wendell Carter, is averaging 10.0 points and 6.5 RPG.
-- Michigan State (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) played its opener Friday at home, capturing a 98-66 win over North Florida as a 31-point home favorite. The 164 combined points soared ‘over’ the 150.5-point total. All five starters were in double figures for the Spartans, who were led by sophomore forward Miles Bridges’ 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Nick Ward added 16 points and made all six of his shot despite logging only 16 minutes of playing time. Jaren Jackson Jr., a 6’11” freshman McDonald’s All-American, had a successful Sparty debut with 13 points, 13 boards, four blocked shots, three assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Cassius Winston had 12 points and eight assists, burying both 3-point launches and all four of his free throws.
-- Bridges, a second-team All Big Ten selection as a freshman last year, was Tom Izzo’s biggest recruit in that he talked him into returning to East Lansing for a second season. Along with Ward and Jackson, Izzo has one of the nation’s premier frontcourts. Gavin Schilling, who missed all of last season with an injury, is back to add depth to MSU’s group of big bodies. Schilling had six points and eight boards in only 16 minutes of action in the opener.
-- These teams met at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Nov. 29 of last season, with Duke winning by a 78-69 count. However, the Spartans took the cash as 13-point road underdogs. Allen scored a game-high 24 points to go with four assists and four steals. Allen buried 5-of-11 treys from beyond the arc. Ward and Bridge scored 11 points apiece in the losing effort.
**No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Kansas**
-- As of Monday night, most betting shops had Kansas (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) installed as a 4.5-point favorite.
-- Kentucky (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS) hasn’t looked overly impressive with its freshman-laded team to date. In Friday’s opener at Rupp Arena, Utah Valley raced out to a 34-25 halftime lead. The Wildcats would rally to win a 73-63 decision, but they never threatened to cover the spread as 20.5-point home favorites. The 136 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 156-point total. After the Wolverines hit a 3-pointer to take their biggest lead (37-25) of the game early in the second half, UK went on a 16-0 run to take the lead for good. But the ‘Cats never led by more than 14 and Utah Valley backers easily cashed tickets.
-- Hamidou Diallo was the catalyst for UK in the win over Utah Valley. The six-foot, five-inch wing hit 8-of-16 shots, including 2-of-4 from downtown, and added five rebounds and three assists compared to merely one turnover. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander contributed 13 points, four steals, four assists and three boards in 36 minutes of playing time. Wenyen Gabriel added seven points, 13 rebounds, three blocked shots and three assists without a turnover. Kevin Knox finished with 12 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals and one rejection, while Nick Richards was also in double figures with 10 points and three blocks.
-- UK didn’t come out flat at home vs. Vermont on Sunday, but it did get all it wanted for 40 minutes from the Catamounts. Kentucky eventually captured a 73-69 win, failing to cover the number once again as 12.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The 142 combined points slithered ‘under’ the 146-point tally. UK inched ahead of the number only once all game when it took a 42-28 advantage with 18:41 remaining in the second half. Vermont gradually chipped away at the lead in the second half and twice pulled to within three points in the final four minutes, but it wasn’t to be.
-- P.J. Washington scored a team-best 17 points for UK in the win over Vermont. Washington also had 10 rebounds. Diallo and Quade Green finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
-- Diallo is averaging a team-high 17.0 points per game for UK. Gabriel (4.5 PPG) is averaging team-bests in rebounding (7.5 RPG) and blocked shots (2.0 BPG). Knox and Washington are also scoring in double figures with 11.5 and 11.0 PPG averages, respectively.
-- Kansas senior guard Devonte’ Graham, along with fellow senior G Svi Mykhailiuk, are 1-2 in three games played at the Champions Classic. The Jayhawks were smashed by UK in 2014, upset by Michigan State in 2015 and surprised top-ranked Duke with an upset win last year.
-- When asked about KU’s experience advantage over a UK team that starts five true freshmen, KU head coach Bill Self told KUSports.com, “We’re not as young as Kentucky, but we’ve only got three guys who have been in the fire before, too. So I’m just as curious to see how our guys react in the bright lights.”
-- Graham feels like the experience edge will help KU. Graham told KUSports.com, “It helps a lot because you’ve been in situations before. I mean, I’ve played in many big games and know it’s a game of runs. If it’s your first big game as a freshman you might be a little nervous, more nerves than usual and stuff like that. So I think experience plays a big part in any game.”
-- Graham started 72 games the past two seasons as a sophomore and a junior. He averaged 13.4 points, 4.1 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game last season. Graham had a 149/64 assists-to-turnovers ratio and shot at a 38.8 percent clip from 3-point land.
-- KU’s season ended last year with a 74-60 loss vs. Oregon in the Midwest Region finals at Sprint Center in Kansas City, where the Jayhawks basically enjoyed a home-court advantage. Nevertheless, they were denied a trip to the Final Four even though they were 6.5-point favorites.
-- KU opened the season Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse by blasting Tennessee State 92-56 as a 27-point home ‘chalk.’ The 148 combined points slipped ‘over’ the 145.5-point total. Six KU players scored in double figures led by junior wing Lagerald Vick, who drained 8-of-12 attempts from the field and 4-of-7 launches from 3-point land. Vick finished with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists. Graham produced 10 points, 12 assists, seven boards and three steals, while Mykhailiuk contributed 15 points and five boards. Malik Newman, the former five-star recruit who played his true freshman season at Mississippi State before sitting out last year due to transfer rules, had 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in his KU debut.
-- UK has won four of five head-to-head meetings between these schools since 2011, going 3-2 ATS, but the Jayhawks have covered the number in the last two encounters. When these teams met at Rupp in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge late last January, KU captured a 79-73 win as a seven-point road underdog. In Lawrence at Allen Fieldhouse in the same event two seasons ago, Self’s squad rallied from a second-half deficit to force overtime before eventually winning a 90-84 decision to hook up its backers with a miracle cover as a 5.5-point home favorite. The 174 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 150-point tally.
-- In last year’s 79-73 win at UK, Graham had 12 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal for the winners. Mykhailiuk finished with eight points.
-- The ‘under’ is 4-1 in the five meetings between these teams going back to 2011.
-- Kentucky will be without one of its top freshman in five-star recruit Jarred Vanderbilt, a 6’9” forward who is nursing a foot injury he sustained in the spring. Also, Jermarl Baker is ‘out’ due to a knee injury. -- ESPN will provide the broadcast at around 9:30ish p.m. Eastern or approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Sparty-Duke.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- If we use nbadraft.net’s 2018 mock as an indicator, then UK’s best player (at least in terms of an NBA prospect) is Knox, who is currently listed as the No. 9 picks in the NBA Draft. Other ‘Cats in the mock draft’s first round include Richards (#14), Vanderbilt (#23) and Diallo (#24). Washington is listed at No. 32, the second pick of Round 2.
-- Duke’s Bagley is listed as the third pick in the same mock draft, while Carter (#8), Trent (#15), Duval (#26) and Allen (#27) are also in the opening round.
-- Michigan State’s Jackson is listed as the No. 6 pick, while Bridges is at No. 13.
-- Florida coasted to a 116-74 win over Gardner Webb in its season opener Monday night in Gainesville. The Gators easily took the cash as 26-point home favorites. They were led by newcomer Egor Koulechov, a grad transfer from Rice who produced 34 points, five rebounds, two steals and five assists compared to only one turnover in his UF debut. Koulechov buried 11-of-17 from the field, 6-of-9 from 3-point range and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Jalen Hudson, another newcomer who sat out last season at UF as a transfer from Virginia Tech, scored 16 points and dished out three assists without a turnover. Freshman Deaundrae Ballard, the prize of Mike White’s most recent recruiting class, had 14 points and four boards, while fellow true freshman Mike Okauru had 13 points, four assists and two rebounds.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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