Top-Caliber Field for ESPN’s 2017 Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic

BasketballCollege Basketball - Men's

Top-Caliber Field for ESPN’s 2017 Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic

23rd annual men’s doubleheader culminating event for Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research

The 2017 Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic doubleheader will be headlined by UConn, Gonzaga, Syracuse and Villanova – to be played on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The 23rd annual event will air on ESPN – pitting UConn against Syracuse and Gonzaga against Villanova – from New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden. Game times will be announced at a later date.

Defending national champion Villanova is currently ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll (Dec. 5), followed by No. 8 Gonzaga and Syracuse, which is receiving votes. The Orange will take on UConn tonight, Monday, Dec. 5, from Madison Square Garden (ESPN, 7 p.m.). Dave O’Brien and Jay Bilas will be on the call of the game.

“We are thrilled to welcome these storied programs to the annual Jimmy V Classic,” said Clint Overby, Vice President, ESPN Events. “To have Syracuse and UConn continue their long-standing rivalry, and to start a new series between Villanova and Gonzaga, will make for great basketball during such an important and meaningful Jimmy V Classic.”

The early-season event will be part of the 11th annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research – the weeklong initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs featuring special content to help raise funds for cancer research. In nine years (not including 2016), Jimmy V Week has raised $13.7 million for cancer research. Tickets for the Jimmy V Men’s Classic will be available for purchase on a future date, to be announced at a later time.

Team Highlights

  • Combined for 126 NCAA Championship appearances, 16 Final Four berths and seven NCAA National Championship titles
  • Over 80 years of combined coaching experience between UConn’s Kevin Ollie, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Villanova’s Jay Wright
  • All four teams earned 2016 NCAA Championship berths with Villanova winning the title on a last-second shot, Syracuse topping Gonzaga in the Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four and UConn playing to the second round

Series Highlights
Syracuse vs. UConn: The 2017 Jimmy V Classic will mark 94th meeting between these two storied programs, dating back to 1956. Former BIG EAST rivals, the Orange own the 55-37 series advantage that has seen some legendary games, including the March 12, 2009, six overtime Syracuse victory (127-117) from MSG in a conference tournament quarterfinal game.

Gonzaga vs. Villanova: This will be the first meeting between the two programs.

Coaches Quotes
“It’s always an honor and a privilege for our program to be asked to participate in the Jimmy V Classic. Everyone knows someone whose life has been affected by cancer and we’re proud to help in any way possible to find a cure for this dreaded disease.

It’s also very exciting to be part of one of the first-class events on the college basketball calendar. It’s another chance to renew our terrific rivalry with Syracuse and give our great fans the chance to see us play in Madison Square Garden.” – Kevin Ollie, UConn

“I have a ton of respect for what Jay and his program have accomplished. We are also pleased to be a part of an event that helps support the incredibly successful Jimmy V Foundation.” – Mark Few, Gonzaga

“We enjoy playing in New York City as much as any road venue in the country and Madison Square Garden is a familiar location for our fans, as well. The fact that it is the Jimmy V Classic is special to our program as well. Coach Valvano and our program have shared a commitment to finding a cure for cancer. Syracuse is proud to participate in this game.” – Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

“Having had the chance to spend some time with Coach Valvano as a Villanova assistant coach, it’s always been an honor for me to take our team to Madison Square Garden for this special night of college basketball. The V Foundation is a tribute to Jim’s vision and optimism. We look forward to taking on an Mark’s outstanding Gonzaga program as we work together in the fight against cancer.” – Jay Wright, Villanova

2016 Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona

The 2016 event to be played, tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 6 as part of Jimmy V Week, will showcase No. 18 Purdue vs. Arizona State and No. 21 Florida against No. 5 Duke. ESPN and ESPN Radio will present both games from Madison Square Garden beginning at 7 p.m.

College GameDay Covered by State Farm will be live from MSG starting at 6:30 p.m.

About The V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research is dedicated to declaring victory over cancer.  It was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, the Foundation has funded more than $170 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Due to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses.  The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process vetted by a Scientific Advisory Committee.  For more information on The V Foundation, please visit

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 13 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Montgomery Kickoff Classic (Montgomery, Ala.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Uncasville, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 (Portland, Ore.); State Farm Armed Forces Classic (Honolulu); State Farm Champions Classic (New York City); Tire Pros Invitational (Orlando, Fla.) and Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.


Rachel Margolis Siegal

A part of the Internal Communications team at ESPN, I began with the network in 2010 as part of the College Sports PR team. Always an avid sports fan and not an athlete – I grew up a huge fan of the Hartford Whalers, while also watching my brother compete at different levels. I became the manager of several high school sports teams and continued that hobby into college. While at Quinnipiac, I worked in the Sports Information Department, which led me to a summer internship at the New Haven Ravens, a AA baseball team, and an eventual job with the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Connecticut. After my five-year stint at Connecticut, I spent six years as Director of Communications at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, R.I. before joining ESPN.
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