Jayhawks, Spartans draw early tip at Champions Classic

None

For just the second time in the eight-year history of the Champions Classic, the Kansas men's basketball team will be playing in the early game.

The Champions Classic on Thursday released official game times for this year's event, which will pit KU against Michigan State and Duke against Kentucky in Indianapolis, and the Jayhawks and Spartans will tip off at 6 p.m.

Duke and Kentucky will follow around 8:30 p.m. from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The reason for KU's tendency to land in the late game is obvious and it's all about ratings. Matchups featuring KU-Kentucky and KU-Duke, because of the national followings of all three teams often draw the best ratings of the season, let alone from the event.

This year's game, for the first time, will mark the season opener for all four teams, as the event was moved up just a hair to become an official season kickoff of sorts.

KU is 3-4 in the Champions Classic all-time and is riding a two-game winning streak in the early season, blueblood clash.

Here's a quick look back at KU's history of tip times at the Champions Classic.

2011 - late vs. Kentucky

2012 - early vs. MSU

2013 - late vs. Duke

2014 - late vs. Kentucky

2015 - late vs. MSU

2016 - late vs. Duke

2017 - late vs. Kentucky

2018 - early vs. MSU - 6 p.m., Nov. 6, 2018 in Indianapolis

• Complete 2018-19 Kansas men's basketball schedule