Jayhawks, Spartans draw early tip at Champions Classic
For just the second time in the eight-year history of the Champions Classic, the Kansas men’s basketball team will be playing in the early game.
The Champions Classic on Thursday released official game times for this year’s event, which will pit KU against Michigan State and Duke against Kentucky in Indianapolis, and the Jayhawks and Spartans will tip off at 6 p.m.
Duke and Kentucky will follow around 8:30 p.m. from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The reason for KU’s tendency to land in the late game is obvious and it’s all about ratings. Matchups featuring KU-Kentucky and KU-Duke, because of the national followings of all three teams, often draw the best ratings of the season, let alone from the event.
This year’s game, for the first time, will mark the season opener for all four teams, as the event was moved up just a hair to become an official season kickoff of sorts.
KU is 3-4 in the Champions Classic all-time and is riding a two-game winning streak in the early-season, blueblood clash.
Here’s a quick look back at KU’s history of tip times at the Champions Classic.
2011 – late vs. Kentucky
2012 – early vs. MSU
2013 – late vs. Duke
2014 – late vs. Kentucky
2015 – late vs. MSU
2016 – late vs. Duke
2017 – late vs. Kentucky
2018 – early vs. MSU – 6 p.m., Nov. 6, 2018 in Indianapolis