In an official announcement, the Champions Classic has been extended for 3 more seasons. The Champions Classic is a yearly non-conference event featuring Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and MSU. The event takes place at a neutral site and features two games between the four schools. This year's event features #1 Kentucky vs. #2 MSU and #4 Duke vs. #5 Kansas. Without a doubt, these will be some of the most hyped games in the non-conference season and fans should be excited to know that the series has been extended for 3 more years.
This is a massive development for MSU and the Big Ten. The Spartans not only can use this event as a "tune up" for the season, but it also gives them a high-profile neutral site game to prepare for the big games late in the season and particularly for the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments where the games are played at neutral sites. The event also serves as a good RPI boost for MSU. Last year's win over Kansas in the Champions Classic was one of the major reasons for MSU earning their #3 seeding last March.
The event is also important for the Big Ten because it gives the conference a national stage to represent one of its strongest teams in recent years. With the ACC, Big 12, and SEC also participating in the event, a win for MSU over what are traditionally top teams can go a long way toward strengthening the perception of the Big Ten nationally and in the polls. This helps every team in the conference in their hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. The biggest impact is clearly for MSU, but college basketball conference performance is incredibly important and this should be a major tool in keeping the Big Ten's reputation at the top of the college basketball world.
Here are the matchups that will occur during the next three season:
- 11/18/14: Kansas vs. Kentucky/Duke vs. Michigan State (in Indianapolis)
- 11/17/15: Kansas vs. Michigan State/Duke vs. Kentucky (Chicago)
- 11/15/16: Kentucky vs. Michigan State/Duke vs. Kansas