Clash Of The Titans

News, notes and quotes about the highly anticipated No. 5 KU's showdown with No. 4 Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at the United Center in Chicago on ESPN. No. 1 Kentucky will play No. 2 Michigan State to open the Champions Classic earlier that evening in Chicago at 6:30 p.m.

News, notes and quotes about the highly anticipated No. 5 Kansas's showdown with No. 4 Duke in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at the United Center in Chicago on ESPN. No. 1 Kentucky will play No. 2 Michigan State to open the Champions Classic earlier that evening in Chicago at 6:30 p.m.

BEST OF THE BEST

Two of college basketball's heavyweights will be battling Tuesday with KU and Duke. The Jayhawks and Blue Devils are two of only four NCAA Division I men's basketball programs with 2,000-plus all-time victories. KU is second behind Kentucky with 2,102 wins while Duke is fourth behind North Carolina with 2,002 victories.

Dating back to 1990, KU's 24 current consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances is the nation's longest active streak. Duke is next with 18.

KU has five national championships, including three NCAA titles, while Duke has four NCAA championships.

Kansas ranks fourth in all-time NCAA Tournament games played at 136. Duke is fifth at 132.

KU and Duke have met nine times, including seven on neutral floors and five in the NCAA Tournament. Duke leads the all-time series, 7-2.

DUKE HANGS 100-PLUS IN OPENER

Duke crushed Davidson, 111-77, at home on Nov. 8 with four players scoring 20 points or more, led by freshman sensation Jabari Parker and redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood with 22 points each. The Blue Devils shot 70.4 percent from the field and 61.9 percent from beyond the arc (13-21), while holding Davidson to 41.9 percent shooting and just 14.3 percent from three-point range (3-21).

Davidson actually beat Kansas, 80-74, at Sprint Center in Kansas City on Dec. 19, 2011.

KU coach Bill Self has great respect for Duke.

"They're definitely as good as their ranking. ... They're good and they'll be a team that has a legitimate shot to win it all," Self said. "Hopefully, we'll be a team that can be in that conversation if we continue to get better."

CHAMPIONS CLASSIC THE BEST

Self loves playing in the Champions Classic, which has been extended to 2016. The Jayhawks are 0-2 thus far with losses to Kentucky in 2011 and Michigan State last season.

"It's a great doubleheader for all four teams," Self said of KU, Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State. "I know it is for us. It's a marquee doubleheader to tip off every season. It will be there every year. We're excited about it. I don't know where else you can go and have four of the top five teams in the country playing in the second game of the season together. It's been good for everybody and I know our players are juiced about it."

LET'S PLAY LOOSE

"I hope it's going to be an atmosphere in which we play loose," Self said. "That will be the biggest thing. Sometimes when you get excited and get a little nervous, which you should have butterflies, sometimes you can play tight. I just want our guys to be in attack mode and play loose. ... I'm expecting us to go over there and play very well."

HIGH PROPS FOR PARKER AND HOOD

Self knows Duke is extremely talented and feature two of the best players in the country in Parker and Hood. Parker (6-8, 235) was just the fifth freshman under Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to score 20-plus points in season opener, while Hood (6-8, 215) had the top scoring game by a transfer in Duke debut with his 22 points. Hood, a team captain, transferred from Mississippi State before sitting out last season.

"(Parker) is probably about as skilled a 6-8 guy as you'll ever see. I mean ever," Self said. "He's a Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony type-player. He can do a lot of things. We recruited Jabari hard until we were told we made the final six, but only five got visits. I think he's a terrific talent and one of the best freshman, without question in the country."

And then there's Hood.

"He's probably as good a three man as there is in America that we'll play against. We're going to have a couple of pretty good three men playing against each other," Self said about KU's Andrew Wiggins battling Hood.

HIGH PRAISE FOR COACH K

Self has great respect for Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, now in his 39th season overall as head coach and 34th season at Duke. Coach K is a Hall of Famer and winningest coach in NCAA Division I history with 958 victories. He's won four national titles, one of just three coaches in NCAA history to earn four or more championships.

Krzyzewski's Team USA won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and at the 2012 London Olympics. Coach K has again been tabbed to lead the USA Men's Senior National Team for the 2013-16 quadrennium. In his first two stints as Team USA head coach, he posted a 62-1 record, including an active 50-game win streak.

"I like to think it's pretty good," Self said about his relationship with coach K. "We've butted heads a few times. We certainly have on the recruiting trail. I think he is without question the pillar of our profession. There's nobody out there that's done more for his school or more for our profession that's presently coaching than he has. I'm not stroking him just because we play him Tuesday. I think every coach in America would say the same thing. He's done an unbelievable job. Hall of Famer, four national championships, and there's nobody coaching presently that has done remotely close to that.

"He is one competitive dude and certainly seems to have as much fire now than he has in recent years. I know when you coach, you want to be able to coach against the best players and you also want to coach against the best coaches and we have an opportunity to do both of those."


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