One of the things that makes college basketball great is the countless opportunities for exciting non-conference games, even before the big dance in March. Many of these take place early on in the season with tournaments spread throughout the country for a two-week span. They serve as a good measuring stick for coaches to see what they have to work with right away against some of the country’s best programs.
One of the better events that was devised prior to the 2011 season was the ‘Champions Classic’ between four of the premier programs in the sport – Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State. The teams played each other once in a three-year cycle and it was an instant success, so much so that they renewed it for three more seasons prior to the 2014 campaign.
The upcoming 2016 season will mark the end of the second cycle between the four blue bloods of college basketball. However, news broke on Wednesday that the four agreed to do it a third time beginning in 2017.
Michigan State, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas agree to three more years of the Champions Classic https://t.co/XPMGNZ6AWm
— Brendan Quinn (@BFQuinn) August 24, 2016
The Champions Classic has been held in some of the country’s premier cities and entertainment venues since its inception in 2011. The Spartans are 3-2 in the event overall, both losses coming to Duke in 2011 and ’14. They defeated Kansas in ’12 and last year in ’15. They will share the spotlight with the Wildcats of Kentucky this year on November 15 at Madison Square Garden, while Duke and Kansas will oppose one another in the other game.
In fact, both Duke and Kentucky are also 3-2 in this event. Kansas is just 1-4, their lone victory came in 2013 at the United Center in Chicago over the Blue Devils. Here is a look ahead to the future dates and match-ups for the Champions Classic:
|November 15, 2016||Madison Square Garden
(New York, NY)
|Kentucky vs. Michigan State|
|Duke vs. Kansas|
|November 14, 2017||United Center
|Kentucky vs. Kansas|
|Duke vs. Michigan State|
|November 13, 2018||Bankers Life Fieldhouse
|Michigan State vs. Kansas|
|Duke vs. Kentucky|
|November 12, 2019||Madison Square Garden
(New York, NY)
|Kansas vs. Duke|
|Michigan State vs. Kentucky|