The twin bill in Chicago on Tuesday was the best early-season doubleheader that I can remember in my 35 years of calling games for ESPN.
Four of the top five teams in America, so much star power, great athleticism and action -- it was a Final Four atmosphere in the first week of the regular season. Eight of the top 10 diaper dandies were in one building!
There were four schools with so much tradition. There was so much pride at stake.
Believe me, a lot of young stars were on the court, and they will get better and better as the season rolls on.
Jabari Parker put on a show for Duke. Julius Randle showed why he is a man among boys; he reminded me a lot of Zach Randolph when he was at Michigan State. Then there was the explosiveness of Andrew Wiggins of Kansas. I know people talk a lot about the one-and-done, but at least we had an opportunity to enjoy these players on a special night.
All three -- Randle, Parker and Wiggins -- earned A's in my book.
I love that Wiggins and Parker are all about their team and all about winning. Wiggins in transition is outstanding.
My friends, there were so many other diaper dandies who made an impression. The Harrison twins will get better and better; they learned a lot facing Gary Harris and Keith Appling. James Young showed his outside touch for the Wildcats.
Wayne Selden has a great body and is very physical for Bill Self. Joel Embiid has potential and a great attitude, and some compare him to Hakeem Olajuwon. That's a Hall of Famer, baby!
Michigan State got off to a fast start, leading 10-0 against Kentucky. The Cats came back and almost landed in the winner's circle. A big basket by Branden Dawson helped Tom Izzo's team get by.
Kentucky will be much better come tournament time. This was just the third time these guys played as a unit, having won over UNC-Asheville and Northern Kentucky. John Calipari had to be proud about the way his kids rallied in the second half. They actually tied the game before Michigan State scored five straight points.
Free throws really hurt Kentucky. They missed 16 of 36 attempts from the line.
The Kansas-Duke game was an incredible display of execution. Both teams played so well and it's only Nov. 12 ... unbelievable.
Sophomore Perry Ellis was dominant inside for the Jayhawks. Duke did not have an answer inside. Shot selection down the stretch, plus free throw shooting, was vital.
Wiggins showed so much when he hit a key step-back jumper and then enjoyed a slam dunk (which led to Parker fouling out). Parker's 27 points were not enough as Kansas prevailed.
What a way for basketball to start with four Goliaths hooking up on national television.