Kentucky vs. Kansas: Champions Classic 2017 Start Time and Live Stream

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 13, 2017

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 10:  Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball against the Utah Valley Wolverines at Rupp Arena on November 10, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There are few times that a game between the Kentucky Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks isn't the marquee matchup, but that's the case on Tuesday night at the Champions Classic. 

The No. 4 Jayhawks and No. 5 Wildcats will follow up the No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown that pits Duke against Michigan State. 

But just because Tuesday's nightcap isn't the most talked about game on the schedule doesn't mean it carries little intrigue. 

Both teams have new rosters after departures of all sorts following last season, and respective head coaches Bill Self and John Calipari know how important Tuesday is in terms of sizing up where their respective teams stand. 


Start Time and Live Stream

Start Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Gone from the Jayhawks are do-it-all guard Frank Mason and lottery pick Josh Jackson, but Self still has plenty of talent to work with. 

Senior Devonte Graham is the leader of the team, and there are very few things he can't do, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman: 

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanESPN

There’s not much Devonte Graham can’t do. He can shoot it, gets to the basket, makes guys better, defends. Still crazy that he was set to go to Appalachian State 4 years ago.

Graham recorded 10 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and three steals in Friday's opener against Tennessee State. Expect the senior to put up similar numbers in each stat category throughout the season. 

One of the biggest concerns for the Jayhawks comes down low, a spot on the court occupied last season by Landen Lucas and Perry Ellis for years before that. Sophomore Udoka Azubuike will be one of the players tasked with filling the void left by Lucas. He picked up 13 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes on Friday. 

Kansas will get a boost to its frontcourt on Tuesday as freshman Billy Preston makes his debut. Preston missed Friday's game due to a missed curfew and a missed class, per Scott Chasen of the Lawrence Journal-World: 

Scott Chasen @ChasenScott

Self said Billy Preston owned up to missing curfew and class. His car was parked illegally and he had to move it. He'll be back Tuesday.

Kentucky has experienced a pair of surprising close calls to open up its season. The Wildcats were pushed to the limit by Vermont on Sunday in their 73-69 win, and they only beat Utah Valley by 10 points in their opener on Friday. 

The entire Kentucky starting five is new and loaded with talented freshmen, each of whom has experienced some early struggles at the collegiate level.

With that in mind, Calipari noted Tuesday's game against Kansas will be difficult to win, per Kentucky beat writer Jerry Tipton: 

Jerry Tipton @JerryTipton

Cal: Kansas will play fast. ..Hard game for us to win.

The first few games of a new season are always a test for Calipari with an overhauled roster of young players, but the Wildcats will have an advantage in most games based off pure talent alone. 

However, that raw athletic ability won't be able to get them past Kansas, but if the Wildcats use their size to their advantage, the result could go in favor of Calipari's men. 

Forward Kevin Knox hasn't gone through a ton of early struggles like his classmates have over the last three days, as he produced 12 points and six rebounds against Utah Valley as well as 11 points and eight rebounds versus Vermont. 

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 10:  Kevin Knox #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks the ball against the Utah Valley Wolverines at Rupp Arena on November 10, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Look for the Wildcats to feed Knox and go after Kansas' lack of depth in the paint in order to gain an upper hand on Tuesday. If that is successful and the backcourt can handle Graham and Malik Newman, the young Wildcats will have a chance to gain an early quality win. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

All statistics obtained from ESPN.com.


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