LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s basketball program along with Michigan State, Kansas and Duke, in conjunction with ESPN, have agreed to renew the Champions Classic for an additional three years, it was announced on Thursday.
“We are excited to continue and be a part of this season-opening event,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “The Champions Classic does a couple of things for our schedule. One, it allows us to play an early-season marquee game at a neutral site, which is important for our team to play in before the NCAA Tournament. Secondly, when you talk about Duke, Kansas, Michigan State and Kentucky, you're talking about four of the best programs in our sport. So it's a great event for our fans. We're happy we could renew it for three more years.”
The Champions Classic debuted during the 2011-12 season and will now continue through the 2016-17 season. The event pitting four of the winningest programs in college basketball history will rotate through the cities of Indianapolis (2014), Chicago (2015) and New York (2016). All six games will be broadcasted by ESPN.
The inaugural event debuted in Madison Square Garden in 2011, followed by the Georgia Dome in 2012.
This year’s matchup will take place in the United Center in Chicago with four of the nation’s preseason top-five ranked teams squaring off in the same venue. No. 1 Kentucky takes on No. 2 Michigan State on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by fifth-ranked Kansas and fourth-ranked Duke.
UK’s showdown with the second-ranked Spartans is the first 1-2 matchup of Associated Press ranked teams since Feb. 23, 2008, when Memphis, then coached by John Calipari, and Tennessee met. The 2013 meeting between Kentucky and Michigan State will earn the recognition as the earliest meetings between the top-two ranked teams in the country in the history of the AP poll.
Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas will have the call with Andy Katz serving as the sideline report.
Future Champions Classic Matchups
Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 (Indianapolis)
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Michigan State vs. Duke
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 (Chicago)
Kansas vs. Michigan State
Kentucky vs. Duke
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 (New York City)
Kentucky vs. Michigan State
Duke vs. Kansas