Cats give Devils their due after humbling 118-84 loss

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1 Kentucky, 78-74, in 2013. Spurred on by a roster that included a trio of future lottery picks in Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker and Willie Cauley-Stein, the Wildcats absolutely smothered a Kansas that was in the top five of every poll in the country. The Blue Devils made 46.2 percent of their 3-point attempts. Even still, we could see shades of it on Tuesday night in terms of Kentucky looking to play at a faster pace to try and wear down the Blue Devils and force them to dig into their bench.

After all, Duke had the nation's best recruiting class and signed the top three players - Zion Williams, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish.

It was the most lopsided defeat in coach John Calipari's tenure at Kentucky and marked the eighth time in 10 meetings the Blue Devils have beaten the Wildcats.

Calipari and some of his players employed usual platitudes at media day about how Duke will provide Kentucky with a rigorous test, but that they are more concerned with themselves and where they're headed, and that both teams will be totally different come March. If Duke continues to dominate the way it did Tuesday night, we all know how this season will end.

Duke freshman Zion Williamson lived up to the hype in his debut on Tuesday, scoring 28 points as Duke routed Kentucky. He was a terror in transition, he was unstoppable when he turned the corner and he oh-by-the-way hit 3-of-7 threes.

The biggest question though will be can Kansas with the new blend of players be able to work together effectively against the veteran team in the Spartans? It was like watching a varsity high school basketball player going up against a middle school team; however, to steal one of Coach Cal's favorite quotes, "Kentucky will be Fine". "We were just thinking about playing for the University of Kentucky and playing hard".

That game was supposed to be a matchup of college basketball titans. But the Wildcats also return sophomores PJ Washington, Nick Richards and Quade Green and added grad transfer Reid Travis, a two-time All-Pac 12 performer at Stanford. Travis didn't stand a chance, which is a problem because anyone that actually had a prayer of keeping Zion in front bounced off the mini-coopers that he calls shoulders like my three-year old bounces off a trampoline.

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Michigan State was led by Joshua Langford with 18 points and Kenny Goins, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds.

That put Kentucky in a nightmare scenario. That did not go well. Oddly enough, both teams scored exactly 59 points (Duke) and 42 points (Kentucky) in each half. The championship victor compared the teenager to none other than the best player in the world, LeBron James.

RJ Barrett led the way for the Dukies with a game-high 33 points in addition to six assists and four rebounds.

What is this Duke team missing? This is such a close group of guys that this beat down could bring them a lot closer.

"You know, I was probably not very bright past year, but I've never been a guy that thinks you take your best players out in a game", Self said of Azubuike, who also had four blocks in his 20 minutes.

Quentin Grimes (21 points, 4 assists) and Dedric Lawson (20 points, 6 assists, 14 rebounds) proved they could replace the production lost from last year's team. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has perfected the one-and-done system, gathering the greatest collection of talent that we've seen in this era of college hoops.

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