Eight of the college’s top 13 basketball teams will highlight two-day tent games from the Champions Classic and Jimmy V Men’s Classic in early December.
ESPN announced details of the two non-conference events on Wednesday.
The classic State Farm champion is set for Dec. 1, featuring Duke’s No. 9 with No. 13 in Michigan and No. 10 in Kentucky, playing at No. 6 in Kansas. The Blue Devils will host the Spartans, while Kentucky and Kansas will play at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Jimmy V’s men’s classic will be held on December 2, with No. 12 Tennessee going against No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor playing No. 8 Illinois. Both games will be played in Bankers Life.
None of the games will have fans present, but the coaches are happy to get back into action.
“It’s great for the sport,” said Kansas coach Bill Self. “We thought the best way to start the season would be with the biggest chest we could. When you’re limited to just nine games without a conference connection, the chances of playing such high-ranking games are probably not as high as before. gives sport the much-needed attention. “
“I think it’s healthy for the community, I think it’s healthy for sports fans, I think it’s healthy for the game of basketball,” said Illinois coach Brad Underwood. “What better way to do it than in the heart of America, in Indianapolis, with so many final fours and great places. It’s a basketball country. You import eight of the best teams, the history of coaches, the history of programs. You you really start your season, you present your season. I’m glad we’re part of that. “
The Jimmy V Women’s Classic will take place on December 4 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, featuring No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 3 UConn.
“ESPN Events is pleased to provide these senior programs with the opportunity to compete with each other in the State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic as we continue to focus on the unique circumstances of this season,” said ESPN Events Vice President Clint Overby. “We look forward to organizing these events safely and building momentum for what we hope will be an exciting college basketball season.”
The championship classic started in 2011, with Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan States playing against each other in a double head each fall. It was originally scheduled to take place in Chicago, but moved to Indianapolis due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the college’s basketball schedule.
“In the past, when we opened the season with Michigan State or the Duke or Kentucky, you had show games, you had a way to watch at least a little bit,” Self said. “It happens a week later. So entering this particular game will probably be the best prepared for us to play each other.”
“For us, the Champions are a great way to start the season in 10 years. This is one of the most important moments of my season,” said Michigan coach Tom Itzo. “I think it’s phenomenal. It’s a great way to start it … I’m just looking forward to it. And I’m looking forward to watching some of it. [other games].
“Tonight will be something everyone will look forward to.”
Jimmy V Classic, named after legendary college basketball coach Jim Valvano, began in 1995 and is raising money and awareness for the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
“Jimmy V was an item on the list for me,” Drew said. “It’s such a big cause, such a big event. To be able to play in it, playing an opponent like Illinois, these are games that your players are excited about, the fans are excited about. I’m back with coach Underwood; I have nothing but respect for the enormous work he has done wherever he has been, and with all the uncertainty that all our student athletes had to deal with, having the opportunity to test themselves against the best in the country, I thought that was really important. “
“I think it’s good that, one thing, we’re starting to play. Safety is the first and most important thing. But I can tell you that our players want to play basketball,” said Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. “That’s what they do, that’s what they want to do. So I’m excited about them, excited about us, excited about the world of basketball. Last season ended so suddenly. There was no ending. So just the fact that you can collect “I’ve never been crazy about pre-season predictions, and with COVID you never know where the teams will be. Everyone had to stop and go a few times. But enthusiasm prevails.”
Schedule for these events:
Tuesday, December 1
№ 13, Michigan, No. 9, Duke (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
№ 10 Kentucky vs. № 6 Kansas (9:30 p.m., ESPN)
Wednesday, December 2
(Jimmy V men’s classic)
No. 12 Tennessee vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (19:00, ESPN)
№ 2 Baylor v. No. 8 Illinois (22:00, ESPN)
Friday, December 4
(Jimmy V women’s classic)
No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 3 UConn (19:00, ESPN)