College basketball gets underway tonight with Madison Square Garden hosting the annual Champions Classic. The top four teams in the preseason AP Poll will be in action.
In the nightcap, we have a rare treat for college hoops fans: the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country squaring off in a season opener. Top-ranked Michigan State takes on No. 2 Kentucky in a battle between premier programs and head coaches.
Michigan State, led by senior point guard Cassius Winston, is coming off a Final Four appearance, while Kentucky reached the Elite Eight last season. As always, the Wildcats have a strong freshman class, but their roster is also laden with seasoned veterans, which should bode well for UK come tournament time.
ESPN has released its prediction for the game, courtesy of its Basketball Power Index (BPI). The computer favors Michigan State on a neutral court.
According to the BPI, the Spartans have a 60. 4 percent chance of winning tonight.
All-time, Michigan State is 3-5 in the Champions Classic, while Kentucky is 4-4. The two teams have split their previous two meetings in the event.
In another 1 vs. 2 matchup back in 2013, the second-ranked Spartans defeated No. 1 Kentucky 78-74 at the United Center in Chicago. Three years ago, the second-ranked Wildcats got the better of No. 13 MSU, winning 69-48 in New York.
Tonight’s game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.