It's no secret that football rules the world right now -- at least that's what TV ratings tell us -- so it's understandable that college basketball has to do something a little extra to spice up the start to the season. For that, four elite programs -- Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Kentucky -- have created the Champions Classic, which will pit each team against each other over the next three years.
For a college basketball fan, this is about as good as it gets. Over the next three years, all four teams will be playing against each other:
Nov. 15, 2011, Madison Square Garden in New York: Duke vs. Michigan State; Kentucky vs. Kansas
Nov. 13, 2012, Georgia Dome in Atlanta: Michigan State vs. Kansas; Duke vs. Kentucky
Nov. 12, 2013, United Center in Chicago: Michigan State vs. Kentucky; Kansas vs. Duke
Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self commented on the announcement following their 81-68 victory over Memphis on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden at the Jimmy V Classic.
"I thought it was a great idea and I think it's great playing on neutral sites," said Self. "To come back to Madison Square Garden will be great with three other unbelievable programs. I'll bet each of these programs will sell whatever ticket allotment they have -- 4 to 5,000."
Kansas and Duke will go from the game in New York next year to the Maui Invitational which includes Tennessee, Memphis, UCLA, Georgetown, Michigan and host Chaminade. Yeah, so if you're a KU recruit, you'll have a hell of a week.
Self said the neutral sites with top programs work out well for his team because scheduling conflicts often pop up when trying to play other elite programs.
"You schedule what's best for your program and there are a lot of reasons -- recruiting, exposure and money. Sometimes you can't play too many road games due to money," Self said. "It's hard to go home-and-home with Duke. It's hard to do that with Kentucky or Michigan State. That's why this neutral site is a good deal. I don't think any of the coaches involved will see anything negative with this."
This should certainly get Kansas Jayhawks fans excited early in the season. Whether KU football is good enough at that point to deter them from basketball remains to be seen.