There has been a push in college basketball to make the games that are being played in November and December more meaningful and interesting.
The early season holiday tournaments and the numerous showcase games have been pretty successful at creating excitement in the non-conference portion of the schedule, but nothing has come close to replicating the greatness of Champions Classic.
If you haven’t been paying attention, the Champions Classic is a three-year round-robin series that has featured Michigan State, Kentucky, Kansas and Duke. It’s been played in three different cities (New York, then Atlanta, and, this season, Chicago), and it has been scheduled by ESPN to happen as the finishing kick of their College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.
This year, all four participants just so happen to find themselves as consensus top ten teams, with some ranking all four in their preseason top five. It’s without a doubt the highlight of college basketball’s fall schedule, and it looks like it will be happening for three more years.
“I think there was a little problem with Kentucky, but I think they just re-upped,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo told local radio show The Drive with Jack on Friday. “We definitely wanted to sign up for another three years,” Izzo added. “It’s been a great event, good for our fans, alumni in those areas.”
“If we’re invited, we’re in.”
What’s more, Larry Keating, who is in charge of scheduling for Kansas, told KUSports.com that the Jayhawks have agreed to continue to participate in the event.
“I think everybody’s happy with it,” Keating said. “There have been discussions for a year about renewing it. It’s a matter of everybody filling their schedules, (ESPN) getting the cities and facilities lined up (before anything is announced). I do believe it’ll stay the first Tuesday of the season, anchoring ESPN’s 24 hours of basketball.”
If you’ve read this far, than you should already know my feelings on the matter. Here’s to hoping that all parties make the right decision and keep this awesome event on the schedule in the future.
(h/t The Dagger)