ESPN will tip off the 2020-21 college basketball season with three marquee events in December. State Farm Champions Classic – featuring No. 9 Duke vs. No. 13 Michigan State (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) and No. 10 Kentucky vs. No. 6 Kansas (9:30 p.m., ESPN), will be played on Tuesday, Dec. 1, with the Jimmy V Men’s Classic Presented by Corona, set for Wednesday, Dec. 2, with No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 12 Tennessee (7 p.m., ESPN) and No. 2 Baylor vs. No. 8 Illinois (10 p.m., ESPN). Three of the four games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., with Michigan State vs. Duke to be played at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. The Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona will feature No. 5 Louisville vs. No. 3 UConn on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. on ESPN, from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
“ESPN Events is pleased to provide an opportunity for these high-profile programs to compete against one another in the State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic as we continue to navigate the unique circumstances surrounding this season,” said Clint Overby, vice president of ESPN Events. “We look forward to safely staging these events and building the momentum for what we hope will be an exciting college basketball season.”
There will be no spectators in attendance at any of the events.
The Champions Classic, which matches four of the nation’s best programs against each other – Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State – debuted in 2011 and celebrates its 10th annual event this fall. The Jimmy V Classic, named for legendary college basketball coach Jim Valvano, annually raises money and awareness for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The men’s classic began in 1995, while the women’s event debuted in 2002.
All other ESPN owned and operated early-season college basketball tournaments, which were cancelled for the 2020-21 season, will return to their original destinations and formats in 2021.
ESPN’s college basketball schedule will be announced in the coming days.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events nationwide. The roster includes four early-season college football games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming, reaches nearly 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in more than 10 markets across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.