There are two No. 1 vs No. 2 matchups taking place in college basketball today. There’s the No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup between Kentucky and Michigan State and the No. 1 and No. 2 matchup between recruits – Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Jabari Parker of Duke. The latter takes place on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. ET.
It will mark the first time since the ESPN 100 rankings debuted in 2007 that the top two prospects in a class will go head-to-head.
When Top-5 recruits meet
It’s not often that we see the nation’s top freshman against even a Top-5 classmate.
• Kevin Love went to UCLA as the No. 1 recruit where he actually faced two top classmates. He went 2-1 in three meetings with crosstown rival O.J. Mayo (ranked No. 3 when he signed on with USC) – posting double-doubles in each – but Love’s Bruins came up short in the Final Four, losing to Memphis and freshman phenom, No. 5 ranked Derrick Rose.
• The next year, No. 1 recruit Harrison Barnes chose North Carolina where he would twice run into No. 4 Brandon Knight and Kentucky. Barnes took the regular season matchup, but Knight won in the Elite 8.
• In 2012, there were three meetings between top-ranked Anthony Davis and Florida guard Bradley Beal, who was ranked No. 5. Davis averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds and led Kentucky to wins in all three games.
• And last season, top-ranked Nerlens Noel and Kentucky hosted the No. 3 recruit, Isaiah Austin and Baylor. Noel grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, but Austin had 11 points and five rebounds as the Bears got their first win over the Wildcats.
Stats to Know: Duke
Duke leads the all-time series 7-2 and has won three of the last four meetings. Including this game, 8 of the 10 meetings will have taken place on neutral floors.
Duke has 452 wins over the last 15 seasons (since 1998-99), the most among all Division I schools (Kansas is second with 436).
Stats to Know: Kansas
Kansas Freshmen in 2013 ESPN 100
Wiggins was named AP Preseason All-America, only the second freshman to earn that honor since it began in 1986-87. Also making the team as a freshman was North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes in 2010-11.
Aside from Wiggins, the Jayhawks recruited the No. 2 overall class according to ESPN Recruiting Nation. In addition to signing the No. 1 overall recruit (Wiggins), the Jayhawks also have the No. 1 center and the No. 4 small forward.
Did you know?
Kansas has won four straight games when both teams are ranked in the AP Top 5, while Duke has won three straight such games, all coming last season.