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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET12:00 PM GMT8:00 PM 北京时间5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST, Nov 6, 2018
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana  Attendance: 18,907

Top-ranked Kansas opens with showdown vs. No. 10 Michigan State

The measuring sticks can be taken out of drawers early for some of college basketball's powerhouses.

Top-ranked Kansas and No. 10 Michigan State will find out right away how they stack up against quality competition when they square off in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Both programs have signed up for the event on an annual basis. Kansas' last loss in the Classic came at the hands of the Spartans in 2015.

"I think this is something to get everybody excited," Kansas coach Bill Self told the Kansas City Star. "You've got four of the preseason top 10 teams. It'll be great competition."

Kentucky and Duke will play in the nightcap.

As usual, all of the programs have national championship aspirations.

Self has the unusual luxury of coaching a contender with some veteran leadership, rather than relying on one-and-dones.

Junior center Udoka Azubuike is the team's leading returning scorer (13.0 points per game) and rebounder (7.0).

He'll be joined up front by junior transfer Dedric Lawson, who averaged 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds for Memphis two seasons ago. Swingman Lagerald Vick, the only senior on the roster, averaged 12.1 points last season.

"We know who three starters are for sure," Self said. "We know that Doke (Azubuike), Dedric and Lagerald have separated themselves consistently into that role."

Self anticipates that the freshmen duo of Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson will eventually settle in as the starting backcourt. Grimes was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 World Championships. He led the USA team, coached by Self, to the gold medal by averaging 14.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

Dotson was ranked as a Top 25 recruit by numerous scouting services.

"We've got to have Devon and Quentin be impact players for us," Self said.

The Spartans lost two NBA lottery picks, forward Miles Bridges and center Jaren Jackson Jr.

They still have plenty of proven veterans, topped by the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford. Winston was the team's second leading scorer last season (12.6) and led it in assists (6.9). Langford averaged 11.7 points and shot 40.4 percent on 3-point attempts.

Nick Ward (12.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg) heads the group of frontcourt returnees. Swingman Matt McQuaid (6.0), who shot 39.1 percent from long range last season, should see his role expand.

Head coach Tom Izzo isn't inclined to play his incoming freshmen much in the early going.

"Winning will be a priority," he said. "I'm not going to give them the experience unless it's been earned. Right now, I might use some of those guys, but it might be in an 'if we need them' situation. Some of those guys might be so nervous they might kill the tuba player with the first shot."

Izzo doesn't mind providing his team with some early tests. The Spartans will also face UCLA and Louisville in the first month of the season.

"It's still my dream to play in these games," he said. "It's still my dream to play against this type of competition. It doesn't get any better than this. These are sleepless nights and they don't get old."

Updated November 6, 2018

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