DURHAM, N.C. -- The State Farm Champions Classic, a neutral site doubleheader featuring Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State, has been renewed for three years as announced by ESPN Wednesday. The early-season event, matching four of the winningest programs in college basketball, will be played in Indianapolis (2014), Chicago (2015) and New York City (2016) with venues to be determined.
“The Champions Classic has turned out to be an amazing idea,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “The quality of basketball with four outstanding programs under one roof in early November is a great way to kick off the college basketball season. We have been honored to be a part of it and are thrilled that this is going to continue for the next three years.”
The marquee matchups, which began in 2011, will continue to be the culminating games of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon that provides more than 24 hours of consecutive basketball coverage to mark the start of the college basketball.
The third installment of the State Farm Champions Classic – on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from the United Center in Chicago – will showcase four of the top five teams in the nation: No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Kentucky (7:30 p.m.) and No. 5 Kansas vs. No. 4 Duke (9:30 p.m.). The inaugural game was held at Madison Square Garden in 2011 followed by the Georgia Dome in 2012.
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
“The University of Kansas is excited and proud to be part of the Champions Classic,” said Bill Self, Kansas head coach. “It’s the most talked about premiere early-season event that our sport offers and to be involved with Duke, Michigan State and Kentucky on a yearly basis brings nothing but excitement to our sport.”
“We are excited to continue and be a part of this season-opening event,” John Calipari, UK head coach. “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.”
“Michigan State is thrilled that the Champions Classic is being renewed and is honored to be a part of the event once again,” said Tom Izzo, Michigan State head coach. “We all knew it was a great event when we first signed on, but it certainly has exceeded our expectations. Three years ago I said the Champions Classic was like having a Final Four in November. Just look at this year’s event, and it’s possible the collection of teams is even better than most Final Fours. Combining these four elite programs in one event has provided a great tip-off event for the college basketball season, providing excellent exposure not only for the schools involved, but also the sport during a crowded time on the sports calendar.”
“The Champions Classic is a premier event in college basketball and an ideal way to tip-off the season,” said Nick Dawson, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions. “It doesn’t get much better than concluding a 24-hour marathon of hoops with four of the best programs in the country playing each other. We want to thank the schools and the cities of Indianapolis, Chicago and New York City for continuing what has become a must-see event in basketball.”
*Millions of fans have tuned into the first two Champions Classic events. The 2011 matchups reached a combined 16.4 million fans while the 2012 games reached a combined 14.8 million.
*Records of the teams participating in the Champions Classic: Duke 2-0; Kentucky 1-1; Michigan State 1-1 and Kansas 0-2.
*Three of the top four all-time winningest men’s college basketball programs: Kentucky (first – 2,111), Kansas (second – 2,101) and Duke (fourth – 2,001).
*A combined 17 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (since 1939): Kentucky (eight), Duke (four), Kansas (three) and Michigan State (two).
*A total of 24 NCAA Final Four appearances in the past 21 years: Duke (seven), Michigan State (six), Kansas (six) and Kentucky (five).