College Basketball Player Props: Bet Kansas’ Gradey Dick & Others for Champions Classic
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Gradey Dick (Kansas)
- The unofficial tip-off of the college basketball season is back tonight as four blue bloods take center stage.
- Doug Ziefel dives into the player prop market and chooses three players to back.
- Doug starts with Kansas' freshman start Gradey Dick.
The Champions Classic is back, as four of the most storied programs in the country take the court tonight.
Perhaps the best part about these matchups is that they should be highly competitive, as each program has retooled successfully.
This will be the first chance for many to meet the new faces they’ll know well by March.
Let’s see who will propel their respective teams to a big early-season victory tonight.
Kansas freshman Gradey Dick has shown no fear of pulling up through the first few games of his college career. In his first two games, he’s averaging 17.5 points and has gone 5-of-10 from behind the arc.
He’s the No. 2 option that this Kansas team needed behind Jalen Wilson.
Focusing on his work from long range, Dick started out on fire in the season opener as he sank 4-of-6 3s. He came back to earth against North Dakota State, though.
If the Jayhawks want to win tonight, they’ll need him to step up on the big stage.
He should get more than a few clean looks from downtown, as this Duke defense has been susceptible to 3s despite its two dominant wins. Over 36% of the points Duke has allowed have been from 3s, and Dick has attempted the second-most 3s thus far.
A.J. Hoggard only played 16 minutes in Michigan State’s season opener, but was incredibly efficient, as he scored nine points and had eight assists.
His performance made an impact, as his minutes and usage skyrocketed against Gonzaga. Hoggard only made 25% of his shots against the Zags, but still scored 12 points.
He leads the Spartans in usage by a wide margin and should be a big part of the offense tonight, as he will be a weapon around the rim and could wind up at the free-throw stripe quite a bit.
The word is that Oscar Tshiebwe will play a limited role for the Wildcats tonight. It would not surprise me one bit to see Hoggard challenge him around the rim. If the big man gets into foul trouble, it will only lessen his impact and give Hoggard even better opportunities around the rim when he’s off the floor.
Also, Hoggard is due for some positive regression shooting the ball. He enters this matchup with an effective field goal percentage of 33%.
However, he had an effective field goal percentage of over 45% last year. If he continues to lead the Spartans in usage, he may lead them in points tonight.
Wheeler made his season debut on Friday and provided a significant lift. He filled up the stat sheet, as he had 11 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, two steals and one block against Duquesne.
However, for tonight, we’re just going to focus on his facilitation.
Last year, Wheeler averaged 6.9 assists per game, but that came with a usage rate of 22%, as he was the fourth option for the Wildcats.
However, this year’s Kentucky team is built much differently. The Wildcats are more inexperienced and will need the senior leadership of Wheeler on this big stage.
With Tshiebwe limited tonight, the ball should be in Wheeler’s hands much more often.
However, that will only increase his opportunities to rack up assists, as the Wildcats have been an excellent passing team without Tshiebwe.
They enter this matchup 18th in assists-to-field goals made, whereas the Spartans have allowed plenty of assists — half of the field goals scored against them have been assisted on.
Look for Wheeler to put on a passing clinic tonight.