🏀 No. 7/5 Kansas to Face No. 20/9 Kentucky in Champions Classic
INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 7/5 Kansas Jayhawks will face No. 20/9 Kentucky in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 1, inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The game will tip-off at 8:30 p.m., CT and will air on ESPN.
Kansas (1-1) is coming off a 94-72 win against Saint Joseph’s on Nov. 27, in the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off in Fort Myers, Florida. Kentucky (1-1) looks to rebound from a 76-64 loss to Richmond on Nov. 29.
Kansas and Kentucky are the top-two winningest programs in college basketball history. Kentucky is first in NCAA Division I all-time victories at 2,319, while Kansas is next with 2,303. The blue-blood programs have also combined for 32 Final Fours with Kentucky at 17 and Kansas at 15.
Through two games in 2020-21, the Jayhawks average 92.0 points per game and have a +5.0 scoring margin. KU outrebounded Saint Joseph’s 51-33 and holds a +4.5 rebound margin through two games. Kansas has shot over 50 percent from the field in both games and is shooting 51.6 percent for the season. KU is also solid behind the arc making 8.5 3-pointers per outing with a 44.7 3-point field goal percentage.
Following his career-high 30 points against Saint Joseph’s, sophomore guard Christian Braun leads KU scoring at 19.0 points per game. Braun also leads the team with seven 3-pointers made and is tied for the team high with four steals. His 5.5 rebounds per contest are second on the squad.
Junior guard Ochai Agbaji is next in scoring at 17.5 points per game after his 17 versus No. 1 Gonzaga (11/26) and 18 against Saint Joseph’s. Agbaji leads KU with two blocked shots and has five assists. Senior guard Marcus Garrett opened the year with 22 points against Gonzaga and is scoring 13.5 points per game. He too has a team-high five assists and four steals.
Redshirt freshman forward Jalen Wilson leads KU with a 6.5 rebound average. Wilson is scoring 12.5 points per game and is tied with Agbaji and Garrett with five assists. Freshman guard Bryce Thompson (9.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and junior forward David McCormack (8.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) have started for KU with Wilson starting against Gonzaga and Thompson versus Saint Joseph’s. McCormack and aforementioned have started both games in 2020-21.
KU and UK will be meeting for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons. Kentucky leads the all-time series with Kansas, 23-9, but the Jayhawks have won three of the last four meetings. Kentucky is 2-1 against Kansas in the Champions Classic.
Beginning in 2011, the State Farm Champions Classic is a neutral site doubleheader series featuring men’s basketball powers Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State. The inaugural Champions Classic was held at Madison Square Garden in 2011 followed by the Georgia Dome in 2012 and the United Center in Chicago in 2013.
Kansas is 4-5 in the Champions Classic and the Jayhawks have won three of their last four appearances in the event. Kentucky and Duke are each 5-4 and Michigan State 3-6 in the Champions Classic.
Following Indy, Kansas opens up the home portion of the 2020-21 season when it plays host to Washburn, Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. (Central) on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+. The Jayhawks have won a mind-boggling 46 straight home openers beginning in 1973-74. Washburn is coach by former KU guard and Bill Self staff member Brett Ballard.
Ahead of Tuesday’s contest against Kentucky, Kansas head coach Bill Self and Ochai Agbaji met with the media.