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Michigan State, Kansas make big statements, plus analyzing the latest College Football Playoff rankings

Michigan State, Kansas make big statements, plus analyzing the latest College Football Playoff rankings


Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS…

Tom Izzo‘s teams often peak in March Madness. If that’s the case this year, the Spartans have put college basketball on notice, because they look very good already. Michigan State topped Kentucky, 86-77, in double overtime at the Champions Classic on Tuesday night.

  • The Spartans trailed by two with four seconds left in regulation, but Malik Hall got a wide-open dunk out of a terrific out-of-bounds play to force OT. The Spartans then trailed by two with six seconds left in overtime, but Hall got another dunk out of another great play call to force the second overtime.
  • Michigan State’s starting front court of Joey Hauser (23 points, eight rebounds), Hall (20 points) and Mady Sissoko (16 points, eight rebounds, three steals) was terrific.
  • Still, Oscar Tshiebwe was his normal dominant self. Making his season debut after a knee injury, the reigning player of the year had 22 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks. But he also had five turnovers and, crucially, fouled out in overtime.

Keep in mind that this win came just days after a one-point heartbreaker against Gonzaga. But this is exactly why Izzo chooses to play such tough schedules, writes college basketball reporter Gary Parrish.

  • Parrish: “They’re already twice-tested and full of confidence just nine days into the season. For that, the Spartans can thank Izzo — in part for the way he designed those two out-of-bounds plays that forced two overtimes and led to the resume-building win, but mostly for being fearless enough to routinely put his players in challenging games most coaches prefer to avoid in November.”

… AND ALSO A GOOD MORNING TO THE KANSAS JAYHAWKS

Early-season college basketball shows where teams are, but more importantly, it gives us hints of where they can go. It looks like both Duke and Kansas can go far this year, but the Jayhawks have the slight advantage now. Led by the relentless Jalen Wilson and the clutch Gradey Dick, the Jayhawks took down the Blue Devils, 69-64.

  • Wilson had a career-high 25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
  • Dick had 14 points, seven of which came in a one-minute, 20-second span late. Dick showed off his vast offensive arsenal, nailing a deep three, flushing an alley-oop dunk and then finishing a crafty layup off the dribble.
  • For Duke, Kyle Filipowski continued his strong start with 17 points and 14 rebounds. He’s the first…

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