PDA

View Full Version : We will host Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten this year



CDu
05-25-2016, 08:03 AM
Per ESPN: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/15701643/duke-blue-devils-host-michigan-state-spartans-acc-big-ten-challenge. This is a bit of a surprise as I figured we'd be on the road this year.

weezie
05-25-2016, 12:49 PM
Much more eye candy here in Cameron. All students, alums, fans, team members, band, coaching staff..... heck even the people cheering for Duke from their couches are better looking than the spartys.

Olympic Fan
05-25-2016, 11:42 PM
I was just waiting for the last draft decisions before doing this, but I think the 14 matchups this year give the ACC a VERY good chance of getting back on the winning side in the Challenge (just for the record, the ACC won the first 10 challenges, but last won in 2008. Since then, the BIG has won five with two ties).

I think the ACC will be heavily favored in six of the 14 matchups this coming season:

Duke over Michigan State in Durham
Louisville over Purdue in Louisville
FSU over Minnesota in Tallahassee
Miami over Rutgers in Miami
Virginia over Ohio State in Charlottesville
Clemson over Nebraska in Clemson (getting Blossomgame back is the big key)

I think the BIG will be clearly favored in three games:

Syracuse at Wisconsin (getting Hayes back makes Wisky the most experienced team in the BIG)
Wake Forest at Northwestern (potentially an NCAA season at Northwestern)
Georgia Tech at Penn State (Penn State is a mediocre program, but this will be one of their better teams; GT will be awful)

That leaves five games that I see as up for grabs:

UNC at Indiana (UNC will be better, but Indiana is not bad with Blackman and Bryant back, plus they will be at home)
Iowa at Notre Dame (both NCAA teams hurt badly by graduation/defection ... Notre Dame is at home)
VPI at Michigan (two good young teams on the rise ... but Michigan at home)
Pitt at Maryland (a veteran Pitt team with a new coach at a Maryland team that loses four starters, but getting Trimble back gives them a chance)
NC State at Illinois (if Yurtseven is eligible, State should be much better than an Illini team having a terrible offseason ... still, it's at Illinois)

I feel good about our chances of winning at least two of the tossup games.

PS Interesting to compare leagues -- ESPN has a story up today about the SEC race. Kentucky No. 1 of course, but the next best team is a Texas A&M team that loses four starters and adds a good-but-not great recruiting class (ranked 15th by ESPN ... it would be sixth best class in the ACC). Not sure A&M would finish 10th I the ACC next year. Just goes to show that when Kentucky gets in-conference, they should roll.

gurufrisbee
05-26-2016, 07:12 AM
At least one would hope with facing Michigan State this year we won't hear anything about Lehigh or Mercer.

I wonder how much they use recent match ups to decide these games. NC and Indiana just played in the Sweet Sixteen. We've had many games with Sparty - including the final four two years ago.

I like your game break down and generally agree with it except the LVille-Purdue. Hookerville might be a heavy favorite in that game, but they should not be.

Olympic Fan
05-26-2016, 06:04 PM
At least one would hope with facing Michigan State this year we won't hear anything about Lehigh or Mercer.

I wonder how much they use recent match ups to decide these games. NC and Indiana just played in the Sweet Sixteen. We've had many games with Sparty - including the final four two years ago.

I like your game break down and generally agree with it except the LVille-Purdue. Hookerville might be a heavy favorite in that game, but they should not be.

The matchups are basically made by ESPN to get the best TV matchups they can get. The ratings bear only the slightest resemblance to last year's finish or the coming year's predictions.

I talked to an ACC official today and he told me:

-- They try to alternate home and away for every team, but sometimes that's not possible. The hard-and-fast rule is that every team has to have two home games and two road games over any four-year period. That means we DEFINITELY have a road game next season (and the year after).

-- Some people don't understand that one consideration of the matchups are the games and tournament's surrounding the three-day Challenge. Sometimes teams are overseas (Hawaii or Bahamas for instance) the weekend before or after the challenge -- and that impacts whether they play early in the week or later. I think that had a lot to do with Syracuse playing at Wisconsin on Wednesday night.

We play Sparty a lot because we get them in the Champion's Classic every third year (that's two matchups so far ... Duke is 2-0). This is the fourth time in the 16 years of the Challenge that Duke ha faced Michigan State -- three in Durham, one in East Lansing (Duke is 4-0). Duke has also played them in the old Great Eight (a tournament that matched teams from the previous year's Elite Eight) early in the 1998-99 season.

None of that is too surprising. What is surprising is that Duke and Michigan State have met four times since 1999 in the NCAA Tournament -- twice in the Final Four (Duke is 2-0 with wins in 1999 and 2015), twice in the Sweet 16 (1-1 -- MSU won in 2005; Duke in 2013). That doesn't count the 1994 second round meeting before Izzo became head coach.

Interesting that both years that Duke and Michigan State met in the Final Four, the two teams met earlier in those seasons -- with Duke sweeping both times.

Overall, Coach K is 10-1 against Michigan State ... 9-1 against Izzo.

PS When you talk about senseless matchups, what is Rutgers -- the worst team in the BIG (by far!) doing playing at Miami, which is likely to be a 5-8 pick in the ACC?

sagegrouse
05-26-2016, 06:52 PM
PS When you talk about senseless matchups, what is Rutgers -- the worst team in the BIG (by far!) doing playing at Miami, which is likely to be a 5-8 pick in the ACC?

Methinks the Rutgers players voted for it.

brevity
05-26-2016, 07:23 PM
PS When you talk about senseless matchups, what is Rutgers -- the worst team in the BIG (by far!) doing playing at Miami, which is likely to be a 5-8 pick in the ACC?


Methinks the Rutgers players voted for it.

"Coach, we're going to take our lack of talents to South Beach."

WakeDevil
05-26-2016, 09:35 PM
My interest in having the ACC win the Challenge ended with the entry into the league of Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame. They need to take John Swofford and Boston College with them on their way back to the Big East.

UrinalCake
05-27-2016, 07:56 AM
Great breakdown, Olympic. I would consider Indiana the favorite over UNC, they won the big 10 outright last year and return everybody except Ferrell I believe. They're playing at home, and they will want revenge after this past season's tournament loss in which the CHeats were in the bonus before they even got to the first four-minute timeout of the second half (seriously, I've never seen a team get that many foul calls that fast).

luburch
05-27-2016, 08:06 AM
Great breakdown, Olympic. I would consider Indiana the favorite over UNC, they won the big 10 outright last year and return everybody except Ferrell I believe. They're playing at home, and they will want revenge after this past season's tournament loss in which the CHeats were in the bonus before they even got to the first four-minute timeout of the second half (seriously, I've never seen a team get that many foul calls that fast).

In addition to Ferrell, Indiana also loses; Zeisloft (graduation), Bielfeldt (graduation), Williams (draft). The Hoosiers will likely still be a top 20-25 team, but it all depends on their PG play. All that being said and with the game in Assembly Hall, I still expect them to beat UNC.

CDu
05-27-2016, 08:36 AM
In addition to Ferrell, Indiana also loses; Zeisloft (graduation), Bielfeldt (graduation), Williams (draft). The Hoosiers will likely still be a top 20-25 team, but it all depends on their PG play. All that being said and with the game in Assembly Hall, I still expect them to beat UNC.


Yeah, the losses of Williams and (especially) Ferrell really hurt. They'll have good size with Bryant and freshman Davis inside, and they'll have talent on the wings with Blackmon, Anunoby, and the freshman Jones. But they will have very few ballhandlers.

MChambers
05-27-2016, 08:39 AM
The Spartans lost a lot (Valentine, Costello, Forbes, and Davis, and also two transfers out), but like Duke they have a good recruiting class. Not as good a class as Duke's, and not as much returning talent, but they'll be reasonably tough.

flyingdutchdevil
05-27-2016, 08:47 AM
The Spartans lost a lot (Valentine, Costello, Forbes, and Davis, and also two transfers out), but like Duke they have a good recruiting class. Not as good a class as Duke's, and not as much returning talent, but they'll be reasonably tough.

The Sparties lost waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. Valentine is our Grayson, Costello is our MP3, Forbes is our Kennard, and Davis is our Amile. We are 1) retaining 3 of the players mentioned and 2) we have a much more talented and much deeper incoming class. Plus, Izzo isn't great at developing OAD talent (yet).

While MSU may be the best team in the BIG 10, the BIG 10 isn't that great next year. Duke, on the other hand, would be #1 in the country WITHOUT Grayson Allen. That's pretty ridiculous.

luburch
05-27-2016, 08:50 AM
Yeah, the losses of Williams and (especially) Ferrell really hurt. They'll have good size with Bryant and freshman Davis inside, and they'll have talent on the wings with Blackmon, Anunoby, and the freshman Jones. But they will have very few ballhandlers.

I expect Robert Johnson and Pitt transfer Josh Newkirk be the primary ball handlers next season. Big Ten should be interesting. MSU, Wisconsin, and Indiana should be the front-runners. *Sigh* How many months until the season starts again?

CDu
05-27-2016, 08:54 AM
The Spartans lost a lot (Valentine, Costello, Forbes, and Davis, and also two transfers out), but like Duke they have a good recruiting class. Not as good a class as Duke's, and not as much returning talent, but they'll be reasonably tough.


The Sparties lost waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. Valentine is our Grayson, Costello is our MP3, Forbes is our Kennard, and Davis is our Amile. We are 1) retaining 3 of the players mentioned and 2) we have a much more talented and much deeper incoming class. Plus, Izzo isn't great at developing OAD talent (yet).

While MSU may be the best team in the BIG 10, the BIG 10 isn't that great next year. Duke, on the other hand, would be #1 in the country WITHOUT Grayson Allen. That's pretty ridiculous.

Yeah, I don't see MSU being much of a threat for this team. We have MUCH better returning players and better incoming freshmen. Obviously anything can happen in a one-game matchup, but I think we'll be heavily favored in this one.

flyingdutchdevil
05-27-2016, 09:08 AM
Yeah, I don't see MSU being much of a threat for this team. We have MUCH better returning players and better incoming freshmen. Obviously anything can happen in a one-game matchup, but I think we'll be heavily favored in this one.

In fairness, is anyone going to be a threat in a neutral or home game? There is only one great team next year on paper. And it's Duke.

UK, KU, and Nova will all be good/really good, but Duke has this ridiculous blend between returning players (1 superstar, 2 excellent role players, 1 "can he find his shot consistently"?) and incoming recuits (2 clear OADs, 1 young Grayson, 1 back-to-the-basket stud). It's ridiculous.

I'm usually very pessimistic about our chances. But not next year.

CDu
05-27-2016, 09:27 AM
In fairness, is anyone going to be a threat in a neutral or home game? There is only one great team next year on paper. And it's Duke.

UK, KU, and Nova will all be good/really good, but Duke has this ridiculous blend between returning players (1 superstar, 2 excellent role players, 1 "can he find his shot consistently"?) and incoming recuits (2 clear OADs, 1 young Grayson, 1 back-to-the-basket stud). It's ridiculous.

I'm usually very pessimistic about our chances. But not next year.

I'd say Kansas will be highly competitive with us. They return two studs at PG/SG in Mason and Graham. They bring in the #1 recruit in the country at SF to pair with Mykhailiuk and Greene on the wings. And they always have a ton of solid bigs, this year being Lucas, Bragg, and Azubuike. They'll be really good too. I think we'd win a series with them comfortably, and would be slight favorites each game, but on any given night they have the talent to beat us. I'd call them a threat every neutral court matchup.

I don't think highly of UK's chances, honestly, as they will be extremely young, extremely shallow in the backcourt, and entirely reliant on freshman/sophomores with no returning upperclassmen of significance. They'll do well in the SEC because it is the SEC, but I think nationally they are at least two steps behind the top guys.

I'm not sure what to make of Villanova. They lose their best PG and their best/only big. They'll be really solid at SG/SF/PF, but that's not typically a good recipe for success. The losses of Arcidiacono and Ochefu are big.

I'd say that it's #1 Duke, Kansas a somewhat distant #2, and that's it. Barring injuries, anyone else beating Duke in Cameron or on a neutral court would be a substantial upset.

flyingdutchdevil
05-27-2016, 09:47 AM
I'd say Kansas will be highly competitive with us. They return two studs at PG/SG in Mason and Graham. They bring in the #1 recruit in the country at SF to pair with Mykhailiuk and Greene on the wings. And they always have a ton of solid bigs, this year being Lucas, Bragg, and Azubuike. They'll be really good too. I think we'd win a series with them comfortably, and would be slight favorites each game, but on any given night they have the talent to beat us. I'd call them a threat every neutral court matchup.

I don't think highly of UK's chances, honestly, as they will be extremely young, extremely shallow in the backcourt, and entirely reliant on freshman/sophomores with no returning upperclassmen of significance. They'll do well in the SEC because it is the SEC, but I think nationally they are at least two steps behind the top guys.

I'm not sure what to make of Villanova. They lose their best PG and their best/only big. They'll be really solid at SG/SF/PF, but that's not typically a good recipe for success. The losses of Arcidiacono and Ochefu are big.

I'd say that it's #1 Duke, Kansas a somewhat distant #2, and that's it. Barring injuries, anyone else beating Duke in Cameron or on a neutral court would be a substantial upset.

Greene left Kansas prematurely. Jackson is a stud, and is the new Wiggins. I can see them as a threat, but the 3 is really the only position where they may have an advantage (Jackson > Tatum).

I agree with you about UK. Excellent recruiting class, no leadership. And Briscoe is not the answer for leadership or depth.

Nova is interesting. They won in a down year and everyone underestimated Nova. Kinda sounds like Duke in 2006 when Florida won it all. But I think they will be overrated because, as you said, they are losing their most important player (Arcidiacono).

Sounds like we're on the same page, except I think Kansas doesn't have the returning talent or freshman depth that Duke has.

gumbomoop
05-27-2016, 10:15 AM
I like your game break down and generally agree with it except the LVille-Purdue. Hookerville might be a heavy favorite in that game, but they should not be.

I'm disappointed we didn't get a matchup with Purdue this time. They'd be my co-favorite to win the Big 14.

Painter plays 9-10 guys, and has 7 of his top 10 returning, plus in-conference grad transfer Spike Albrecht and a redshirt player of some promise (Smotherman). They're strong D and rebounding team, 4 good 3-bombers (38-41%), good FT. Their two best players (Edwards, Swanigan) tested the waters, but both sensibly returned. Painter needs his very tall center (Haas) to lose a few pounds and up his PT from 14 to ~20 mpg.

Top 2, with Wisconsin, in a so-so Big 14, I'll guess.

sagegrouse
05-27-2016, 11:22 AM
I'd say Kansas will be highly competitive with us. They return two studs at PG/SG in Mason and Graham. They bring in the #1 recruit in the country at SF to pair with Mykhailiuk and Greene on the wings. And they always have a ton of solid bigs, this year being Lucas, Bragg, and Azubuike. They'll be really good too. I think we'd win a series with them comfortably, and would be slight favorites each game, but on any given night they have the talent to beat us. I'd call them a threat every neutral court matchup.

I don't think highly of UK's chances, honestly, as they will be extremely young, extremely shallow in the backcourt, and entirely reliant on freshman/sophomores with no returning upperclassmen of significance. They'll do well in the SEC because it is the SEC, but I think nationally they are at least two steps behind the top guys.

I'm not sure what to make of Villanova. They lose their best PG and their best/only big. They'll be really solid at SG/SF/PF, but that's not typically a good recipe for success. The losses of Arcidiacono and Ochefu are big.

I'd say that it's #1 Duke, Kansas a somewhat distant #2, and that's it. Barring injuries, anyone else beating Duke in Cameron or on a neutral court would be a substantial upset.

To be honest, I think all this "Number One" talk is a set-up . We weren't that good last year, and we lost our second-best player and three of our top seven. Only Grayson and Luke, among the returnees, are reliable offensive players. I think the new recruits are outstanding, but will that translate into a powerful team? If so, when? At the beginning, middle or end of the season?

CDu
05-27-2016, 11:38 AM
To be honest, I think all this "Number One" talk is a set-up . We weren't that good last year, and we lost our second-best player and three of our top seven. Only Grayson and Luke, among the returnees, are reliable offensive players. I think the new recruits are outstanding, but will that translate into a powerful team? If so, when? At the beginning, middle or end of the season?

I think we'll be a powerful team from day 1:
- We have the best returning player in the country in Allen
- We get Jefferson and lose Plumlee, which is a substantial gain (no offense intended to Plumlee)
- We lose Ingram but get Tatum AND Giles, which is a huge gain for this year
- We get Jackson and lose Thornton, which is at least a push if not a gain
- We get a more experienced Kennard and Jones
- We get a year of physical development for Jeter
- We have options at backup C with a sophomore Jeter and a more highly regarded freshman Bolden
- We have depth, and depth was one of our biggest limitations last year
- We have size/length, and size/length was also one of our biggest limitations last year
- We have versatility (can play big or small), which we didn't have last year
- Despite having no proven scorers going into last season, we were one of the top 2 or 3 offenses in the country last year
- Even with all those limitations, we were still a top-15 or top-20 team last year

Indoor66
05-27-2016, 11:41 AM
I think we'll be a powerful team from day 1:
- We have the best returning player in the country in Allen
- We get Jefferson and lose Plumlee, which is a substantial gain (no offense intended to Plumlee)
- We lose Ingram but get Tatum AND Giles, which is a huge gain for this year
- We get Jackson and lose Thornton, which is at least a push if not a gain
- We get a more experienced Kennard and Jones
- We get a year of physical development for Jeter
- We have options at backup C with a sophomore Jeter and a more highly regarded freshman Bolden
- We have depth, and depth was one of our biggest limitations last year
- We have size/length, and size/length was also one of our biggest limitations last year
- We have versatility (can play big or small), which we didn't have last year
- Despite having no proven scorers going into last season, we were one of the top 2 or 3 offenses in the country last year
- Even with all those limitations, we were still a top-15 or top-20 team last year

Nice summary. I can't (and don't want to) argue with any of this. All I can do is SMILE! :cool:

Olympic Fan
05-27-2016, 12:02 PM
To be honest, I think all this "Number One" talk is a set-up . We weren't that good last year, and we lost our second-best player and three of our top seven. Only Grayson and Luke, among the returnees, are reliable offensive players. I think the new recruits are outstanding, but will that translate into a powerful team? If so, when? At the beginning, middle or end of the season?

My biggest argument with your statement is the line "we weren't that good last year"

Wow, talk about ridiculous expectations!

Duke was good enough to beat the national runnerups on their home court ... to win 25 games and to reach the Sweet 16. Duke finished in the top 20 of both major polls.

The biggest problem with last year's team was lack of depth in the frontcourt after Jefferson was hurt (and neither Jeter nor Obi was able to step up). With Jefferson, Duke was a top 10 team and maybe a national title contender. But even without him -- Duke was very good last season.

As for the coming year, I think CDu summed it up very well.

Yes, there will be question marks ... but EVERY team has question marks every year. Duke returns a very solid four-man core of proven players. Yes, Grayson and Luke are the only two proven scores of the four (and how many college teams go into next season with two proven scorers of that quality), but Matt and Amile are very good college players -- both rotation players on a national championship team. Your add a freshman class that includes four five-star players, including two of the top three prospects in the country (1 and 2 according to ESPN's final rankings; 1 and 3 according to the current RPI). It's likely that we may have a disappointing freshman -- that happens -- but it would be unprecedented for two or three of them to disappoint. When has that ever happened at Duke (for five-star recruits)?

Duke has issues -- how will K structure the team to play without a true point guard? Will there be chemistry issues? Injuries are a concern for any team, but unlike last year, this team appears to have enough depth of talent to withstand an injury or two.

I understand the desire to downplay expectations, but on paper, there is no doubt that Duke is the preseason odds on favorite to be No. 1. I know that ranking doesn't guarantee anything, but it is certainly deserved.

MChambers
05-27-2016, 12:24 PM
Yes, there will be question marks ... but EVERY team has question marks every year. Duke returns a very solid four-man core of proven players. Yes, Grayson and Luke are the only two proven scores of the four (and how many college teams go into next season with two proven scorers of that quality), but Matt and Amile are very good college players -- both rotation players on a national championship team. Your add a freshman class that includes four five-star players, including two of the top three prospects in the country (1 and 2 according to ESPN's final rankings; 1 and 3 according to the current RPI). It's likely that we may have a disappointing freshman -- that happens -- but it would be unprecedented for two or three of them to disappoint. When has that ever happened at Duke (for five-star recruits)?

Duke has issues -- how will K structure the team to play without a true point guard? Will there be chemistry issues? Injuries are a concern for any team, but unlike last year, this team appears to have enough depth of talent to withstand an injury or two.

I agree with your issues, but think the biggest question mark is whether Duke can play defense at a high level next year.

whereinthehellami
05-27-2016, 12:36 PM
I agree with your issues, but think the biggest question mark is whether Duke can play defense at a high level next year.

On paper Duke's D looks great. Size, length, and a lot of great athletes. But how long will it take for the team to play together and communicate effectively? There will no doubt be a ton of easy layups and open 3s at the start of the year.

I really like the idea of Coach implementing more zone this year. I think it takes too long to implement his M2M and with the recent rule changes it looks difficult to play the pressure D that he typically likes to go with. I think if Coach focuses on mixing up different zone looks it will help cover up the inexperience and highlight the teams size, length, and athleticism(closeouts).

gurufrisbee
05-27-2016, 01:42 PM
I'm disappointed we didn't get a matchup with Purdue this time. They'd be my co-favorite to win the Big 14.

Painter plays 9-10 guys, and has 7 of his top 10 returning, plus in-conference grad transfer Spike Albrecht and a redshirt player of some promise (Smotherman). They're strong D and rebounding team, 4 good 3-bombers (38-41%), good FT. Their two best players (Edwards, Swanigan) tested the waters, but both sensibly returned. Painter needs his very tall center (Haas) to lose a few pounds and up his PT from 14 to ~20 mpg.

Top 2, with Wisconsin, in a so-so Big 14, I'll guess.

Yup, I think Purdue has a very good team next year - and with Lville losing it's top three players and only bringing in one recruit - I don't see that as a great match up for the ACC at all.

luburch
05-27-2016, 01:47 PM
Yup, I think Purdue has a very good team next year - and with Lville losing it's top three players and only bringing in one recruit - I don't see that as a great match up for the ACC at all.

Purdue's problem will remain the same. Poor guard play. I think relying heavily on Albrecht could be an issue, because no one knows how he will recover form a major injury. Also Swanigan needs to vastly improve his offensive game. They'll likely finish 6ish in the Big Ten. A solid team, likely not a top-25 team.

gep
05-27-2016, 05:26 PM
On paper Duke's D looks great. Size, length, and a lot of great athletes. But how long will it take for the team to play together and communicate effectively? There will no doubt be a ton of easy layups and open 3s at the start of the year.

I really like the idea of Coach implementing more zone this year. I think it takes too long to implement his M2M and with the recent rule changes it looks difficult to play the pressure D that he typically likes to go with. I think if Coach focuses on mixing up different zone looks it will help cover up the inexperience and highlight the teams size, length, and athleticism(closeouts).

From what I remember, Amile is a very good communicator on defense. And with him in the "back" of the defense, he can see everything happening... all in front of him... that he could direct the defense and move them along.

-jk
05-27-2016, 07:13 PM
In fairness, is anyone going to be a threat in a neutral or home game? There is only one great team next year on paper. And it's Duke.

UK, KU, and Nova will all be good/really good, but Duke has this ridiculous blend between returning players (1 superstar, 2 excellent role players, 1 "can he find his shot consistently"?) and incoming recuits (2 clear OADs, 1 young Grayson, 1 back-to-the-basket stud). It's ridiculous.

I'm usually very pessimistic about our chances. But not next year.

Yeah, we're loaded. But I'd be a lot more sanguine with a true point guard. Especially an experienced one.

And, yeah, we've won without one before... But we generally do better with one...

-jk

Troublemaker
05-27-2016, 07:52 PM
I don't get the Kentucky love. Their recruiting class isn't any better than it was last year when they lost in the 2nd round. Or the year before, when they had a stacked team there already, but they played in a terrible conference and were totally unprepared when they hit March Madness and faced real competition. This year they have nothing there and will once again play in a terrible conference. It's like the worst parts of the last two seasons combined into one.




I don't think highly of UK's chances, honestly, as they will be extremely young, extremely shallow in the backcourt, and entirely reliant on freshman/sophomores with no returning upperclassmen of significance. They'll do well in the SEC because it is the SEC, but I think nationally they are at least two steps behind the top guys.

Interestingly, Calipari has not downplayed his team as much as you guys have here. Calipari refers to his incoming class as "maybe the best I've ever had" and a "super team" (http://www.kentucky.com/sports/college/kentucky-sports/uk-basketball-men/article69021032.html). Interesting, because he's had the AD/MKG class and the Wall/Cousins class prior, and those guys were definitely threats to win it all as freshmen, with the AD/MKG class actually accomplishing it.

I tend to lean more towards giving UK the benefit of the doubt here. This high school class of 2016 is superb, and from that class, UK plucked five 5-star recruits and in composite ranking is only slightly behind Duke for top class (http://247sports.com/Season/2016-Basketball/CompositeTeamRankings); really, top billing could've gone either way. I think Duke deserves to be ranked ahead of UK, but I do believe in the Wildcats as a top-3 team, especially by the end of the season, and as possibly Duke's biggest threat nationally.