The Champions Classic, which features college basketball heavyweights Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State, will continue through the 2019-20 season, UK announced Wednesday.
Kentucky will play Michigan State on Nov. 15, 2016, in Madison Square Garden, then Kansas on Nov. 14, 2017, in Chicago, Duke on Nov. 13, 2018, in Indianapolis and finally Michigan State on Nov. 12, 2019, in Madison Square Garden.
“We’re excited and honored to be a part of the Champions Classic for another three years,” UK Coach John Calipari said in a news release. “It’s become one of the premier college basketball events on the national schedule every year. You’re talking about four blue-blood programs playing on a neutral, NCAA Tournament-like stage. I know our fans love traveling to those cities. It’s always a tough way for a young team like ours to face those types of teams that early, but it’s a great opportunity for us to learn and to prepare for that type of environment down the road.”
The Champions Classic will continue to be the final event of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon that provides more than 24 hours of consecutive basketball coverage to mark the start of college basketball season.
The Champions Classic began in the 2011-12 season. Kentucky beat Kansas in Madison Square Garden. Then in subsequent years, UK lost to Duke in Atlanta, lost to Michigan State in Chicago, routed Kansas in Indianapolis and beat Duke in Chicago.
The Michigan State vs. Kentucky game as part of the 2013 event was the most-watched Champions Classic with 4,002,020 viewers.
The 2015 Kentucky vs. Duke game was the highest-rated matchup of the 2015-16 regular season with a 2.0 household rating.