When does the 2021-22 college basketball season start? Opening night schedule, tournament dates

Find out when the 2021-22 college basketball season begins and the best season tip-off matchups.

The 2021-22 college basketball season will begin Tuesday, Nov. 9 with the annual Champions Classic at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

For the 11th straight year, the quartet of Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State will highlight the season’s opening week. In 2021, Kansas will play Michigan State and Duke will play Kentucky.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Champions Classic was played without fans. Duke hosted Michigan State at Cameron Indoor Stadium while Kansas and Kentucky met in Indianapolis.

Here is everything you need to know about the start of the 2021-22 college basketball season.

When does the 2021-22 college basketball season start?

  • Tuesday, Nov. 9
Duke's Mike Krzyzewski will coach in his final Champions Classic on Nov. 9 vs. Kentucky.
Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski will coach in his final Champions Classic on Nov. 9 vs. Kentucky. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire)

The 2021 Champions Classic will be the final time that longtime Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski will participate in the event. Overall, the Blue Devils are 6-4 in the Champions Classic, the best record of the four participants.

Duke announced on June 2 that the 2021-22 season will be Krzyzewski’s last as head coach. Current Blue Devils assistant Jon Scheyer will take over the program and succeed Coach K after the season. Krzyzewski enters the ’21-22 season as college basketball’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach at 1,170 career wins.

Best 2021-22 opening night men’s college basketball matchups

  • Duke vs. Kentucky; New York, N.Y. (Champions Classic)
  • Kansas vs. Michigan State; New York, N.Y. (Champions Classic)
  • Oakland at West Virginia
  • Morehead State at Auburn
  • Bucknell at NC State

Duke and Kentucky highlight opening night with both teams looking to turn the page after challenging seasons. Both storied programs missed the NCAA Tournament in 2021 with the Blue Devils finishing 13-11 and the Wildcats 9-16.

Kansas and Michigan State face off in the other Champions Classic matchup. The Spartans are 2-1 in the event against the Jayhawks with Tom Izzo topping Bill Self in 2012 and 2015.

College basketball 2021-22 nonconference tournament schedule

  • Champions Classic (New York, N.Y.): Nov. 9
  • 2K Classic (Newark, N.J.): Nov. 18-19
  • Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.): Nov. 18-19, 21
  • Myrtle Beach Invitational (Myrtle Beach, S.C.): Nov. 18-19, 21
  • Hall of Fame Tip-Off (Uncasville, Conn.): Nov. 20-21
  • Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawaii): Nov. 22-24
  • Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas): Nov. 24-26
  • NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.): Nov. 24, 26
  • ESPN Events Invitational (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.): Nov. 25-26, 28
  • Wooden Legacy (Anaheim, Calif.): Nov. 25-26
  • Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, Hawaii): Dec. 22-23, 25


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