Champions Classic to Open 2018-19 College Basketball Season

Grayson Allen Duke

© Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Duke men’s basketball team will open the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in the State Farms Champions Classic, coinciding with the new start of college basketball season.

The 2018 Classic – a neutral site doubleheader – will feature Duke battling Kentucky and Michigan State playing Kansas. The games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., on ESPN.

The NCAA Division I Council approved moving up the start of the men’s and women’s college basketball season to the Tuesday before the second Friday in November.

“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 Champions Classic began in 2011 and Duke has an all-time record of 4-3 in its appearances.

“It’s incredibly exciting that they’re going to start he basketball season on such a high note and on a different date,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski “I think it’s such a great idea, and to have the Champions Classic on that date is an honor. It’s an honor for the four programs that will be participating. I’m anxious to do something for the first time, and I think it’s a positive step in the right direction for our sport.”

Champions Classic History:

*  Millions of fans have tuned into the Champions Classic over the last seven years. The 2017 matchups delivered the event’s second highest viewership ever, behind the 2013 Classic.

*  A combined 18 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (since 1939): Kentucky (eight), Duke (five), Kansas (three) and Michigan State (two).

*  A total of 56 NCAA Final Four appearances (since 1939): Kentucky (17), Duke (16), Kansas (14) and Michigan State (9).

*  Since the Champions Classic began in 2011, all four teams have reached the NCAA Final Four at least once, with Kentucky and Duke winning national titles, in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

*  Over the last 14 games of the Classic, there have been 13 top-25 matchups, including two games featuring No. 1 vs. No. 2 (according to the AP poll).

*  Four Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coaches in Calipari, Izzo, Krzyzewski and Self.

*  To date, the event has taken place in four cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis and New York.

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