Michigan State coach Tom Izzo talks about playing No. 1 Kansas in the Champions Classic, as well as his own team. Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News
The Champions Classic has been a big hit since it began in 2011, and on Monday it was announced that the four-team event that highlights the start of the college basketball season has been renewed through 2022.
The event features Michigan State, along with Duke, Kentucky and Kansas. They face off in the 2018 edition on Tuesday night in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. No. 10 Michigan State takes on No. 1 Kansas at 7 p.m. followed by No. 2 Duke vs. No. 4 Kentucky.
“There can’t be a better way to start off for anybody, much less Michigan State,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “I was pleased to hear there is an extension for three more years, so 12 straight years. … We’ve had the same coaches, which I think that that is unbelievable. It just doesn’t happen that way. Every time we’ve played a top-7 team and this is the third time we’ll play a No. 1 team.”
Next season’s event in New York rounds out the current agreement. The extension will see games played in Chicago (2020), New York City (2021) and Indianapolis (2022) at United Center, Madison Square Garden and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, respectively.
"We are excited to continue with this marquee event, as it has become a fixture on the college basketball landscape,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming and events.” The credit goes to these four outstanding programs for coming together annually to launch the season.”
Since the Champions Classic began in 2011, all four teams have reached the NCAA Final Four at least once, with Kentucky (2012) and Duke (2015) winning national titles. Over the last 14 games of the Classic, there have been 13 top-25 matchups and eight top-10 matchups, including two games featuring No. 1 vs. No. 2. Michigan State has played in both, beating No. 1 Kentucky in 2013 and losing to No. 1 Duke last year.
John Niyo, James Hawkins and Matt Charboneau preview the Michigan State and Michigan college basketball seasons. The Detroit News, The Detroit News
Future Champions Classic matchups
2019 (New York City)
Kansas vs. Duke
Michigan State vs. Kentucky
Michigan State vs. Duke
Kansas vs. Kentucky
2021 (New York City)
Kansas vs. Michigan State
Kentucky vs. Duke
Kentucky vs. Michigan State
Duke vs. Kansas