The CBE Hall of Fame Classic tips off on Monday night in Kansas City. Texas and Brigham Young will start things off at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU with DePaul and Wichita State the following. The winners and losers will face each other on Tuesday night.
1. Wichita State
Wichita State has been firing on all cylinders to start the season, ranking No. 25 in KenPom after five games.
Senior Cleanthony Early leads the team in points (14.8 ppg) and rebounds (7.4 rpg), while Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker have been sensational in the backcourt. Together, VanVleet and Baker are recording 27.2 points, 10.2 assists, and 4.4 steals per game.
Those two, along with Tekele Cotton, have also been stroking the ball from long range.
2. Brigham Young
Brigham Young’s backcourt can compete with the nation’s best. Tyler Haws is one of the best scorers in the country with 26.3 points per game; Matt Carlino has been terrific with 18.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 2.2 steals per game; Kyle Collinsworth is averaging 12.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. Meanwhile, Anson Winder, Skyler Halford, and Frank Bartley IV are all making significant contributions as well.
The Cougars also have one of the most underrated freshmen in the country in forward Eric Mika. Through five games, Mika is averaging 13.4 points and five rebounds.
DePaul has not beaten anyone notable, but its offense has been running smoothly and ranks No. 34 on KenPom. The Blue Demons have two potential All-Big East players in Cleveland Melvin (19.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Brandon Young (15.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.8 apg).
Freshmen Billy Garrett Jr. and Tommy Hamilton IV have become immediate contributors. Garrett is averaging seven points and four assists, and Hamilton is averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Texas is one of the least experienced teams in the nation with no seniors and only one junior receiving playing time.
The Longhorns could give Brigham Young trouble with their size, but the Cougars offensive firepower and deep backcourt will be too much to handle.
Although Texas may have more raw talent than DePaul has, the Blue Demons’ experience with Melvin and Young as seniors should be enough to send the Longhorns to a fourth-place finish.