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College Basketball Returns with Kansas vs. Michigan State, Duke vs. Kentucky
Plus, a top-5 battle in women's hoops and the struggling Bucks look to right the ship.
It's officially college basketball season! We add a new sport to the mix tonight with the return of college hoops, and the slate tonight on both the men's and women's sides looks fantastic. The return of student sections and packed gyms will be a beautiful sight.
Also worth watching tonight: Giannis and the Bucks trying to get out of an early-season skid and perhaps the NHL's best team in action against the defending champs.
Here's what I'm watching today.
Men's College Basketball: Kentucky vs. Duke
The two biggest brands in men's college basketball are facing off at Madison Square Garden. Is there a better way to kick off the new season?
Both teams are coming off historically bad seasons, at least by their program's standard: Kentucky finished with its worst record since the 1920s, and Duke missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 25 years. That said, John Calipari and Coach K have built extremely talented rosters for 2021–22, and there's a reason SI has both teams picked to win their respective conferences. Each squad will rely on a key freshman: Duke's Paolo Banchero looks primed to come off the board first in next year's NBA draft and Kentucky's TyTy Washington has earned rave reviews all summer and fall.
9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, watch on fuboTV
- Ranking Every Team in Men's College Basketball, From Gonzaga (No. 1) to UMES (No. 358) (Kevin Sweeney and Molly Geary)
- SI's Preseason Expert Predictions: Men's Final Four, National Champ and More (SI staff)
- As a New Men's College Hoops Season Begins, Change Is the Operative Word (Jeremy Woo)
- MBB: Michigan State vs. Kansas | The other Champions Classic showdown features SI's No. 3 and No. 33 teams in the country. Both teams have transfer PGs that will define their ceilings: Kansas adds Arizona State import Remy Martin to run the show, while Michigan State turns to Tyson Walker (Northeastern). 7 p.m. ET, ESPN, watch on fuboTV
- Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning | After a 9–0 start, the Hurricanes finally lost Saturday in a 5–2 defeat to the Panthers. Still, Carolina's start to the season has been impressive and a road test against the two-time defending Stanley Cup winners should be fun to watch. 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+
- Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers | SI's Chris Mannix has the Bucks as the No. 15 team in the NBA in his latest power rankings, as a 4–6 start for Milwaukee is setting off alarm bells for last year's NBA champs. Drawing the Sixers without Joel Embiid (COVID-19 protocols) might make life slightly easier though. 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT
- Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers | The Blazers dominated the last meeting between these two teams just 11 days ago, but the Clippers look like they might be turning the corner. 10 p.m. ET, TNT
Women's College Basketball: South Carolina at NC State
This battle of two of the nation's best teams is a must-watch. South Carolina enters the season as the No. 1 team in the AP Poll, while NC State comes in at No. 5. Both teams earned No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament last season and bring back their best players—Aliyah Boston for the Gamecocks and Elissa Cunane for the Wolfpack. Both stars are featured in SI's top 10 candidates for National Player of the Year in the preseason. Expect a great atmosphere in Raleigh and a highly competitive game between two teams with legitimate national title aspirations.
5 p.m. ET, ESPN, watch on fuboTV
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