Sports

With 4 of top 5 teams, Champions Classic could provide sneak preview to this year's Final Four

  • Kentucky's Aaron Harrison, top, gathers up a loose ball next to Northern Kentucky's Deontae Cole (35) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

    Kentucky's Aaron Harrison, top, gathers up a loose ball next to Northern Kentucky's Deontae Cole (35) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kentucky's Julius Randle (30) dunks next to Northern Kentucky's Cole Murray (25) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 93-63. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

    Kentucky's Julius Randle (30) dunks next to Northern Kentucky's Cole Murray (25) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 93-63. (AP Photo/James Crisp)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kentucky head coach John Calipari directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Northern Kentucky, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

    Kentucky head coach John Calipari directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Northern Kentucky, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)  (The Associated Press)

Only a few days into the college basketball season, the Champions Classic might just be a sneak preview of the Final Four.

Top-ranked Kentucky vs. No. 2 Michigan State is the marquee matchup in the tournament Tuesday night at the United Center in Chicago. It's the earliest in the season the top two teams have faced each other, and the first game between Nos. 1 and 2 since 2008.

Duke and Kansas play in the nightcap, giving the tournament four of the top five teams in the country.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo says he hasn't been this excited about a game in "a long, long time." It's a great showcase for college basketball, and Izzo says there's no downside, win or lose.