basketball-men-d1 flag

Andy Wittry | | December 5, 2017

What is the Jimmy V Classic?

  Villanova, Gonzaga, UConn and Syracuse are in this year's four-team Jimmy V Classic field.

Tuesday is one of the most impactful days of the entire college basketball season. Four of college basketball's premier programs – Connecticut, Syracuse, Villanova and Gonzaga – will play in a doubleheader at New York City's Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic – the "why" behind the matchups that will leave a lasting impact upon the lives of many.

RELATED: How Chris Mack prepped Xavier for its rivalry week against Cincinnati

Inspired by former North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator Jim Valvano and his fight against cancer, the V Foundation for Cancer Research was created in 1993 and the Jimmy V Classic began in 1995. This is the 11th annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research, a weeklong ESPN initiative to raise money for cancer research.

In the first nine years, ESPN raised $13.7 million for cancer research. The V Foundation has raised more than $170 million in cancer research grants, according to the Jimmy V Classic's website.

The Champions Classic marks the kickoff for the college basketball season for many fans and the NCAA tournament is obviously the pinnacle of the sport, but the Jimmy V Classic uses its platform for a cause that's bigger than college basketball. To learn more about the V Foundation or to donate, you can visit

The matchups

This year's Jimmy V Classic matchups are No. 4 Villanova vs. No. 12 Gonzaga and UConn vs. Syrcause. The four teams are a combined 27-4 to start the season and the first game of the night should be excellent. Villanova and Gonzaga have both played in a national championship game in the last two seasons and have continued their past success into the start of this season, earning top-15 rankings in the latest AP Top 25 Poll.

This is UConn's third appearance in the Jimmy V Classic. The Huskies were on the losing end of games against N.C. State in 2012 and Maryland in 2015.

Syracuse has played in the Jimmy V Classic three times: a win over Michigan State in 2010 and losses against Oklahoma State in 2004 and 2006.

Villanova is 1-2 in the event, beating Illinois in 2014 and losing to Missouri in 2011 and Texas in 2008.

Gonzaga last played in the Jimmy V Classic in 2002, when the Bulldogs beat N.C. State.

FCS football rankings: Villanova makes big jump after knocking off Towson

Off an overtime win over CAA rival Towson, Villanova moved up five spots in the latest FCS Coaches' Poll, released Sept. 23. North Dakota State remains unanimous No. 1 in the rankings.

5 predictions for the 2019-20 Big East men's basketball season

Andy Katz gives his five predictions for how the Big East will play out this year, including Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and important non-conference games.

College basketball rankings: Andy Katz's Power 36 following the NBA draft

Andy Katz breaks down the top 36 projected teams for the 2019-2020 men's basketball season.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners