College Basketball Podcast: Can No. 2 Kentucky upset No. 1 Michigan State in the Champions Classic?

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The college basketball season starts this week -- on Tuesday, to be exact. And, man, it's impossible to start it any better than the way it's starting this year. The top four teams in the Associated Press poll -- No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 Kansas and No. 4 Duke -- will each open under the same roof. And the fact that it's Madison Square Garden's roof only makes the Champions Classic that much sweeter.

Can't wait.

I'll fly to New York on Monday and will be inside MSG on Tuesday. So, before I left home, Matt Norlander and I decided to get together Sunday night and discuss both games in great detail -- but only after we gave proper attention to ... Central Arkansas at Baylor!

After that, the conversation went like this:

  • 10:00: The first game of the Champions Classic is No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 4 Duke. Each team is replacing significant pieces. At Kansas, it's mostly Dedric Lawson. At Duke, it's mostly Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. And, I think, whichever team replaces those pieces better, and more quickly, will likely win this game on Tuesday night. For what it's worth, Norlander and I do not agree on the winner. He picked one team (Kansas), I took the other (Duke).
  • 27:00: The second game of the Champions Classic is No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky. The Spartans are led by Cassius Winston, the CBS Sports Preseason National Player of the Year, while the Wildcats are led by ... Immanuel Quickley? The sophomore guard only averaged 5.2 points in 18.5 minutes per game last season. But he's been great this preseason. And UK might need him to be that again on Tuesday night if John Calipari's team is going to upset the only team that's ever been ranked No. 1 in the preseason under Tom Izzo.
  • 51:30: Michigan State is the favorite to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament, according to oddsmakers; you can get the Spartans at 6-to-1. But is there any value in that? With this in mind, Norlander and I provided our two best value bets. We agreed on one of the teams. It was a Big East school.
  • 56:00: We closed this podcast by taking the 12 teams with the highest projected win-totals and predicting whether they'll finish the regular season over or under that number. Come March, the plan is to look back and see how we did. Concert tickets are on the line.

The latest "Eye on College Basketball" podcast is below. Give it a listen. If you're not already subscribed, please subscribe via Apple Podcasts. And if you've already done that, thank you. #ShoutsToDevanDowney.

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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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