2020 2K Empire Classic Preview
Arizona State point guard Remy Martin will look to lead the Sun Devils past Rhode Island into the 2K Empire Classic championship (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

After many long-awaited months, college basketball begins today. Kicking off the 2020 season, Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena will be hosting the 2K Empire Classic. The four teams in action will be the Arizona State Sun Devils, Rhode Island Rams, Villanova Wildcats, and the Boston College Eagles. The event will be tournament-style, with the two winning teams from the first round advancing to the finals. Tip-off begins at 7 pm eastern time where Rhode Island will take on Arizona State. Each of these four teams are solid, all with the chance to have a great 2020 season.

#18 Arizona State

Returning a year later, this time for the 2K Empire Classic, the Sun Devils get to play again at Mohegan. Head coach Bobby Hurley has assembled a very good team for the 2020 season. Leading the charge is guard and preseason all-American Remy Martin. Last season, Martin averaged 19.1 points per game on 43 percent shooting.

Shooting guard Alonzo Verge will be a key contributor for the Sun Devils this season, likely sharing the backcourt with Martin. Following a great offseason, Arizona State will be playing two five-star freshman in their first game against Rhode Island. Guard Josh Christopher and forward Marcus Bagley are both NBA prospects with the potential to take the Sun Devils to the next level. All in all, Arizona State has the makings to win the 2K Empire Classic and become a top ten team in the country.

Rhode Island

The Rams were a very last minute addition to the 2K Empire Classic, as they took the place of #2 ranked Baylor. Point guard Fatts Russell will lead the charge for Rhode Island. The senior averaged nearly 19 points per game last season and added about 5 assists. Russell is likely the favorite to win the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and could be playing in the NBA next season.

Junior forward Antwan Walker may see an expanded role for the Rams this season, as much of Rhode Island’s front court from last year graduated. Rhode Island has a tall task tonight against Arizona State. Fortunately, we may see one of the best guard battles of the season in Remy Martin versus Fatts Russell.

#3 Villanova

Number three ranked Villanova will be the favorite to win the 2020 2K Empire Classic. Coached by Jay Wright, the Wildcats have a dominant roster that can make a push for the championship in late March. Senior point guard Collin Gillespie is a preseason Player of the Year nominee. Additionally, sophomore shooting guards Justin Moore and Bryan Antoine appear capable of taking the next step for the Wildcats.

Arguably my favorite player in the nation, Villanova’s big man Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has star potential. To kick off the tournament, the Wildcats face an unranked Boston College team. Most uninterestingly, Villanova will be my pick to win the 2020 2K Empire Classic based on the depth of their roster and their coaching.

Boston College

The Boston College Eagles are in somewhat of a rebuild as the program has lost many of their top players in the past few years. Senior forward Steffon Mitchell is one of the only players returning who has played noteworthy minutes for the Eagles over the last three seasons. It may take Boston College a few seasons before they return to playing competitive ACC basketball.

In their matchup tonight versus Villanova, it may be tough for the Eagles to convert possessions into points. This team is the most likely to go 0-2 in the 2020 2K Empire Classic, but still can compete.

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