Champions Classic Renewed For Three Years
Nov. 7, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - ESPN announced Wednesday that the Champions Classic will be renewed for three additional years. The November college basketball doubleheader featuring Michigan State, along with Duke, Kansas and Kentucky is in its third season, with this year's event being held at the United Center in Chicago.
Specific venues were not announced, but ESPN did disclose the cities for the next three seasons, including Indianapolis (2014), Chicago (2015) and New York City (2016). The Spartans will face Duke in 2014, Kansas in 2015 and Kentucky in 2016.
"Michigan State is thrilled that the Champions Classic is being renewed and is honored to be a part of the event once again," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. "We all knew it was a great event when we first signed on a few years ago, 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."
This year's edition features No. 2 Michigan State against No. 1 Kentucky in the earliest meeting ever between No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams. The Spartans are 1-1 in the previous classics, having defeated Kansas, 67-64, last season, following a 74-69 loss to Duke in 2011. The second game of this year's doubleheader includes No. 5 Kansas against No. 4 Duke, marking the first time four of the Top 5 teams in the country will play in the same building on the same day since the 2008 Final Four. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com recently called this year's edition "the best scheduled double-header in the history of the regular-season."
"The Champions Classic has turned out to be an amazing idea," said Mike Krzyzewski, Duke head coach. "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 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."
"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."
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