The first game with two ranked teams facing each other of the 2019-20 college basketball season takes place Tuesday in New York -- where No. 4 Duke will face No. 3 at Madison Square Garden. The winner of the Jayhawks-Blue Devils game will have a big early-season victory that'll serve as a resume-builder on Selection Sunday. The loser will be ranked in the top four of the Associated Press Top 25 poll but 0-1 to start its 2019-20 campaign.
It's a fun matchup.
Each team is led by a Hall of Fame coach who has won a national championship and sophomore point guard who should compete for All-America honors. At Kansas, it's Bill Self and Devon Dodson. At Duke, it's Mike Krzyzewski and Tre Jones. And, yes, each of these teams will look significantly different than the last time you saw them. Kansas is without its top two scorers from last season -- most notably Dedric Lawson. Duke is without its top three scorers from last season -- most notably Zion Williamson. In other words, both the Jayhawks and Blue Devils will need to get points and rebounds from different places and new faces.
So who wins this big game between blue-blood programs? Let's take a closer look at what to expect -- and at some picks straight up and against the spread from our team of experts.
Kansas: The Jayhawks have had a wild offseason, one that saw Kansas receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA detailing major violations that could -- I repeat, could -- eventually force the school to, among other things, vacate its trip to the 2018 Final Four and endure a postseason ban. So that's (possibly) bad for KU's past and (possibly) bad for KU's future. But it has nothing to do with KU's present, which is actually strong and encouraging -- evidence being that only Michigan State received more first-place votes in the preseason AP poll. The key for the Jayhawks being great early might be connected to how quickly Udoka Azubuike gets comfortable again. The 7-foot center is a matchup nightmare for opposing college players. But he hasn't played in a real game in more than 10 months because of a season-ending hand injury that limited him to just nine games last season. So keep an eye on that.
Duke: The Blue Devils aren't only without the top three scorers from last season's team that earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They're actually missing four of their top five scorers. So you likely won't recognize most of the starters. But don't think for a second that Mike Krzyzewski is short on talent. He's not. Does the Hall of Fame coach have three top-10 NBA Draft picks like he had last season? No. But Krzyzewski might have four first-round picks -- among them Matthew Hurt, a 5-star forward who averaged 18.5 points in Duke's two preseason exhibitions. And don't forget about Vernon Carey. He's not a projected lottery pick because he's an un-athletic traditional center, and those guys aren't valued much in the NBA anymore. But Carey spent most of his prep career making the case that he was one of the top prospects in his high school class. So it's possible he'll have a big impact as a freshman regardless of what his professional future looks like.
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 5 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden -- New York
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN
Game prediction, picks
It's reasonable to suggest I have it wrong. And I might regret it late Tuesday. But, for whatever it's worth, I have Duke ranked ahead of Kansas in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1. And any time I have a team ranked higher than its opponent, and that team is getting points, well, I'm just going to take the points. Will Duke do to Kansas what it did to Kentucky in last year's Champions Classic? Almost certainly not. But let the record show I'm riding with the Blue Devils -- both against the spread and straight up. Pick: Duke (+2.5)