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Indiana basketball set to play in loaded 2023 Empire Classic field



Indiana Head Coach Mike Woodson watches during the first half of the Indiana versus Wisconsin men's basketball game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The Indiana basketball program will be joining a loaded field for the 2023 Empire Classic.

Announced on Tuesday, Indiana will join Louisville, Texas and 2023 National Champion UConn this fall. The event will be played at Madison Square Garden and take place from Nov. 19-20.

Matchups have yet to be determined.

“I think it’s important to prepare yourself with high-level competition as much as possible as your team gets ready for a 20-game Big Ten schedule,” IU head coach Mike Woodson said last fall. ” … What you are telling recruits is that you can expect to play big time games in front of exceptional atmospheres and in top notch venues by playing at Indiana.”

The initial report of Indiana’s involvement in the Empire Classic field was announced in November. Today brings the official confirmation.

Below is the full release from the Indiana basketball program.


The Indiana men’s basketball program will join Louisville, Texas, and UConn as participants in the 2023 Empire Classic presented by Continental Tire benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. The event will be played from Nov. 19-20 at Madison Square Garden in New York. IU holds a record of 14-12 all time in games played at MSG.

Semifinal matchups, television coverage, and the on-sale date for tickets will be announced in the future. To be the first to receive updates on these important details, sign up for alerts at Gazelle Ticket Updates and follow the Empire Classic on Twitter and on Instagram.

The series of games will mark a homecoming for Indiana head coach Mike Woodson, who was the head coach of the New York Knicks from 2012-14. Woodson was drafted 12th overall in the 1980 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks and played with the franchise from 1980-81. He also served two stints as an assistant coach with the Knicks from 2011-12 and 2020-21.

Indiana is coming off a 23-12 season that ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This will mark the program’s second appearance in the Empire Classic. IU defeated Washington, 102-84, in the opening round of the 2013 Empire Classic before falling to UConn, 59-58, in the title game.

The Hoosiers also defeated Stony Brook, 90-74, and LIU Brooklyn, 73-72, in the Bloomington Regional at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall leading up to the main event at Madison Square Garden.

Texas, a 2023 Elite Eight participant, will be making its seventh appearance in the Empire Classic, the most of any program. UConn, the 2023 national champion, will be making the program’s fifth appearance in the event. Louisville, guided by former New York Knicks assistant coach Kenny Payne, will be making its debut in the tournament.

The Hoosiers are 11-9 all time against the Cardinals, 1-2 against the Longhorns, and 4-6 against the Huskies.

It will be the Hoosiers first appearance in MSG since defeating UConn, 57-54, on Dec. 10, 2019 as part of the Jimmy V Classic. IU last faced Louisville on Dec. 8, 2018 when it won 68-67 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers fell to Texas, 66-44, in their last matchup on Dec. 1, 2020 in the Maui Invitational played in Asheville, N.C.

About the Empire Classic presented by Continental Tire benefiting Wounded Warrior Project

First played in 1995, the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project presented by Continental Tire is acclaimed as college basketball’s premier early-season tournament. Featuring teams from across the nation, the Empire Classic annually attracts the top programs in the sport.

About the Gazelle Group

The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally recognized college sports events, such as the Empire Classic, Legends Classic, the Gotham Classic, the Sunshine Slam, the College Basketball Invitational, the Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off, the Barstool Sports Invitational as well as on-campus events at Duke, Kentucky, Nebraska, and other institutions across the country. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit

About Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project (Twitter) is the beneficiary of the Empire Classic. With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.

Follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. 

Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.