Kansas basketball draws late tipoff in Champions Classic clash with Duke in November

photo by: Phil Ellsworth of ESPN

Kansas big man David McCormack goes up for the opening tip against Kentucky Tuesday night during the Champions Classic inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Dec. 1, 2020. Photo courtesy of Phil Ellsworth of ESPN.

The Kansas men’s basketball program on Wednesday announced that its Champions Classic clash with Duke in November will be the late game in the annual hoops showcase event.

KU and Duke will square off at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 in Indianapolis, with Kentucky and Michigan State doing battle in the early game that night.

It will mark the seventh time in the 12-year history of the event that KU has played the late game.

Kansas played the late tipoff in six of the first seven Champions Classic games it played in and evened that out by playing in the early game during the past four seasons.

This year’s event, which is penciled into the prime slot, figures to draw even more national attention than most years given the fact that it will feature the defending national champs taking on Duke coach Jon Scheyer in his first high-profile contest since taking over for the legendary Mike Krzyzewski.

Until recently, the Champions Classic had been the official tipoff for the college basketball season. But both Duke and Kansas will have a couple of tune-ups before squaring off in Indianapolis.

Kansas owns a 6-5 all-time record in the Champions Classic and is 1-2 against Duke in the event.

Last year, ESPN announced that the Champions Classic had been extended through the 2025 season. Kansas will face Kentucky in 2023, Michigan State in 2024 and Duke in 2025. Sites for those next three matchups have yet to be announced.

Prior to last year’s Champions Classic win over Michigan State in New York City, KU coach Bill Self again sang the praises of the event that features three of the bluest blue bloods in college basketball.

“It’s a great way to tip off the basketball season,” Self said in 2021. “All eyes (are) on the four teams that are playing there. You do this for a long time because there’s certain things that kind of get your motor running and your juices flowing. This is a great way to do that, not only with players, but for coaches, as well.”


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