Jahlil Okafor and Duke. Cliff Alexander and Kansas. Two of Chicago’s best big men in ages, along with their star-studded teams, sharing the same basketball court Tuesday night in Indianapolis. Could it get any better?
Well, sure. For one thing, the event could be taking place in Chicago. For another, you’ll notice the word “against” or “vs.” appeared nowhere in the previous paragraph. Sadly — although, come on, this is still awesome — that’s because Okafor (Whitney Young) and Alexander (Curie) won’t be squaring off nose-to-nose or even appearing in the same game. It’s a doubleheader: No. 4 Duke takes on No. 19 Michigan State, followed by a matchup of No. 1 Kentucky and No. 5 Kansas, starting at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
The Chicago bigs won’t the only star-studded freshmen at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse — not by a long shot. Duke has four who were McDonald’s All-Americans: Okafor, guards Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen and forward Justise Winslow. The Jayhawks’ Alexander has a spectacular running mate in 6-7 Kelly Oubre.
And in case you hadn’t heard, Kentucky happens to be No. 1 and oozing with all-time-great potential. Twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison, skyscrapers Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee are back. Newcomers Karl Towns, Trey Lyles, Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker are all legit blue chips. Or as Wildcats fans call (or should call) them, Big Blue chips.
Basically, it’s the unofficial start of the college basketball season. And you aren’t going to want to miss it.