Does Kentucky or Kansas need a win more in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge?

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the Blue Blood showdown between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Kentucky Wildcats, and debate which team needs the win more amid rough stretches for both programs.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: Ross, good talk on college basketball.


ROSS DELLENGER: You might as well ask me about the life on Mars.


DAN WETZEL: There is college basketball going on, and I've been watching some more-- like I am fascinated; Saturday, they have the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which is--


DAN WETZEL: --kind of funny. One is Tennessee-Texas, so Rick Barnes gets to remind Texas, like, it's been a total disaster since I left, and I failed to make it out of the second round with Kevin Durant, but, overall, it was a good run.

But the one that kills me is this Kansas-Kentucky game because Kansas is on-- what's the losing streak? Like four--


DAN WETZEL: --games?



PAT FORDE: And they've never had a four-game losing streak under Bill Self. But it's--

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, I mean, that's--

PAT FORDE: --tough to--


PAT FORDE: --avoid it. They've got to win in Rupp Arena.


DAN WETZEL: --cataclysmic. He is really happy the Chiefs are good and no one's paying attention. But, yeah, unbelievable. And they have Kansas State coming on like Tuesday next week.

So they have to go to Kentucky, who has just gotten its legs under itself, was like-- about two weeks ago, they were begging Calipari to leave and didn't look like they'd make the NCAA basketball tournament. Now they're playing much better and should make the tournament. And who knows what happens in March.

But I've never seen Kansas and Kentucky, those kind of schools, play, whatever, Kentucky-Duke, other than in March. You want to win the game, but you don't need to win the game. Right? If this is a normal year and one's ranked 3 and one's ranked 6, you want to win, but, if you lose, you just go back to work and you see what happens in March. And I'm not saying-- I don't think Calipari and Self-- they both have lifetime contracts, but-- I'm not saying anyone is getting fired or anything, but this would be a rough defeat for whoever loses.

PAT FORDE: Yeah. No matter who loses is gonna feel real bad. I mean, if it's Kansas, it's like, oh, my God, the bridges are burning. We're going down four in a row. Again, they've not done that, and Bill Self's been there a long time.

And then, Kentucky, yeah, you've done-- you've done a lot of work in the last two weeks to get yourself just on the right side of the bubble. You're probably like a 10 seed right now. Don't lose at home. Don't backtrack off of that and then put more pressure on yourself to keep winning in the SEC.

And Calipari wouldn't necessarily get fired, certainly not over this game, but this season could end up-- if they slide again, it's going to be so miserable that I don't know what he does. You're gonna be sitting on $40 million and saying, make me. He's got the Jimbo Fisher situation. I got so much money, you can't fire me. You're just going to have to live with me. But it's not going to be a very happy existence if Kentucky backslides back to where they were all of two weeks ago when they were losing to a South Carolina team that's absolutely horrible.

DAN WETZEL: Ross, good talk on college basketball.


ROSS DELLENGER: You might as well ask me about the life on Mars.

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, OK. We'll give you that one.

Calipari-- there's a side note, has nothing to do with anything, but Calipari does have DJ Wagner signed for next year, the number one recruit in the country.

PAT FORDE: They have a massive class signed for next year.

DAN WETZEL: A massive class signed, so he ain't going anywhere. And he's doing well.

But just as a side note, because I love the Wagner family, they announced the McDonald's All-American Games this week, and DJ Wagner, as you would expect, made it. Most people focused on Bronny James getting in, so it's like father/son both made McDonald's All-American Games. There was no doubt-- there was a debate whether Bronny should have been McDonald's All-American, whatever. They picked him. I'm not getting into that because I don't know.

There was no doubt on DJ Wagner. But he becomes the third generation of McDonald's All-Americans from the Wagner family. Milt Wagner, 1981, Dajuan Wagner in-- 2001, was it?

PAT FORDE: Maybe 2000--


PAT FORDE: --maybe 2001.

DAN WETZEL: I tweeted this out. One of the two.


DAN WETZEL: And now-- and now DJ in 2023. Not only that's the first time we've had three generations make the McDonald's game, they all played at Camden-- New Jersey-- High School, the same high school. I say this never gets repeated.

PAT FORDE: Yeah. No. I think you're right. That's incredible.

DAN WETZEL: Their allegiance to Camden High, which is like-- I think they're under some kind of investigation on how they've built the team, but--

PAT FORDE: Oh, yeah.

DAN WETZEL: --look it, if you're gonna be allegiant to a not wealthy school-- public school, like, good. It's like none of them went off to wherever, right, and none of them ever--

PAT FORDE: Right. They're not all at--


PAT FORDE: --Prolific Prep--

DAN WETZEL: Prolific Prep--

PAT FORDE: --or--

DAN WETZEL: --or this or that.

PAT FORDE: --this prep or that prep--

DAN WETZEL: All three--


DAN WETZEL: --from the same high school that grandpa went to. Absolutely amazing. The Wagner family is like-- it's incredible. They never-- I mean, Milt was one hell of a player, and so was Dajuan--


DAN WETZEL: --but Dajuan never quite made it in the N-- he had injury issues and stuff. We'll see what DJ does.

But, I mean, there are some great father/son duos out there, right-- the Currys, the Thompsons, the-- I mean, there's a million, right? We'll see what the Jameses do. He could have two sons-- he could have multiple sons make McDonald's game. But how about those three? Good job on the Wagners, man.