In the wake of the NCAA’s decision to move the start date of the 2018-19 college basketball season up three days, ESPN just announced the Champions Classic will open the season on Tuesday, November 6. This year’s event will feature Duke vs. Kentucky and Kansas vs. Michigan State at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“We feel that there is natural connection to the start of the season and to the State Farm Champions Classic,” said Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events. “These four schools have come together to help build an exciting stage to launch the college basketball season.”
The will be the eighth year for the Champions Classic. Kentucky and Duke lead the way with 4-3 records, while Kansas and Michigan State are 3-4 in the series. As always, John Calipari joked that playing such a marquee opponent so early on is unfair to his young squads, although next year’s group will feature many more veterans than usual.
“The Champions Classic has been the gold standard for college basketball’s regular-season events for the last seven years, but I love what we’re doing to use it to tip off the basketball season. What better thing for our sport than to begin the year with four of the most successful programs in college basketball. Now, it might not be the best thing for my team, but the good news is we’ll all be learning about our teams at the same time while taking this thing to the next level. I know our fans will turn Indianapolis blue next fall.”
Yes, we will.