Duke meets Kansas for season-opening top 5 showdown

Chase for the Championship

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – NOVEMBER 06: Mike Krzyewski the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils gives instructions to his team against the Kentucky Wildcats during the State Farm Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 6, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — College basketball fans are in for an early-season treat when the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils meet the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks in the annual Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Duke opened the 2018-19 season with another top-five matchup, defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 118-84 in a Champions Classic meeting.

A matchup between two of the four winningest programs in NCAA history, Duke and Kansas have met 12 times with the Blue Devils holding a 7-5 edge.

Duke is once again loaded on paper, but don’t maintain the all-world hype from last season’s team that produced three top 10 NBA Draft picks led by Zion Williamson. RJ Barrett and Cameron Reddish are the other two young, now-NBA stars, respectively.

Still, coach Mike Krzyzewski brought in another elite freshman recruiting class and will once again lean on them heavily for success. Point guard Tre Jones is one of few key returners to this season’s squad.

Duke is riding a two-game winning streak in the Champions Classic and the team’s 5-3 record in the annual event is the best among the participants.

The Blue Devils are 38-23 in AP top-five matchups, including 32-18 under Coach K.

Seems as though the NCAA loves to showcase Duke at MSG, as this will be their 54th game at the legendary venue where they own an all-time 35-18 record (30-11 under Krzyzewski).

Under Coach K, Duke is 37-2 in season openers and has won 19 consecutive.

More history will be made in this one as Nov. 5 marks the earliest start to a season in Duke’s history.

The Blue Devils had never played a game earlier than November 8th — that was the 2013-14 season with a 111-77 win over Davidson at Cameron Indoor Stadium — before last season’s Nov. 6 win over Kentucky in the Champions Classic.

Duke will be battle-tested as they’re scheduled to play five of the top 11 teams in the AP preseason poll this season.

Duke and Kansas will tip-off at 7 p.m. from Madison Square Garden.

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