While Kentucky’s season officially tipped off a week ago against New Mexico State, their first real challenge of the year will come tonight in Chicago, IL. The No. 17 ranked Wildcats will face the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks in the second game of the State Farm Champions Classic, following up No. 8 Duke and No. 18 Michigan State in the first game.
To no surprise, both the Wildcats and the Jayhawks are 2-0 to start the season. Kentucky has an average margin of more than 30 points after rolling past New Mexico State in their first game. The Wildcats won by 42 points in that contest but struggled in the first half of their game against Texas A&M-Commerce, leading to “just” a 20-point win. Kansas, meanwhile, has an average margin of victory of more than 40 points in their two games.
The story of Kentucky’s young season has been their guard play. They’re incredibly deep in the back-court and appear to have already built up quite a bit of chemistry. The issue for Kentucky will be in their front-court as they prepare to try and defend Hunter Dickinson.
Dickinson, the former Michigan Wolverine, had UK on his radar when in the transfer portal before landing with Kansas. He’s averaging over 19 points and over eight rebounds in two games this season. The Wildcats are still missing key big men, which will require a crafty game plan from head coach John Calipari’s staff to try and limit Dickinson’s production.
According to Draftkings Sportsbook, the Wildcats are currently 6-point underdogs. Tip-off is tentatively scheduled for 9:30 PM ET on ESPN, but could be delayed if the Duke/Michigan State game runs long or goes into overtime (that game will begin at 7 PM ET).
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De'Aaron Fox (28 PTS, 6 AST) made the most out of his return to the Kings' lineup by leading a win over the Cavs! pic.twitter.com/QoMGXgqduB— NBA (@NBA) November 14, 2023
Big night for the former Wildcat.
Still can’t believe he picked Kentucky.
Lady Wildcats play Austin Peay tonight.
They’re at their best when that unit is rolling.
Hard to see this happening.
Nice recognition for the future Wildcats.
It was quite the ugly game.