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With the college basketball season only a few days old, No. 2 Michigan State faces top-ranked Kentucky and its latest group of freshmen phenoms today in the Champions Classic (doubleheader at 4:30 p.m., ESPN). Not only is it the earliest meeting of 1 vs. 2 — and the first since 2008 — but with No. 4 Duke playing fifth-ranked Kansas in the second game, the tournament might very well be a sneak preview of this season’s Final Four. “I’m not sure I’ve been as excited about an opportunity such as this in a long, long time,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Monday. “I think it’s great for college basketball, great for the media, great for the fans and great for the programs.” – Associated Press